Racing with Susan C. Hall and Bob Glass in the Great San Francisco Schooner Race. I am calling off the number of feet between us and the Race Committee Boat to our fearless skipper Mark Hall.

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 The Friday Reflection Title

9-12-2014

St. Clare of Assisi – The Episcopal Church Mission to Ebbetts Pass

 

Yes, St Clare’s is still a Mission Church. In the Upper Foothills, it’s on Highway 4 leading up to the High Country of the Sierras, the Pass often closed in winter. Except for vacationers heading for their cabins and Lake Alpine and the ski slopes, the resident population is otherwise sparse and the congregation at St Clare’s small but devout and faithful and always welcoming to strangers. We come from as far away as 25 miles, one couple from the East Bay on the last Sunday of the month.

 

We’re mostly retired and living on fixed incomes, but nevertheless support local appeals such as a Woman’s Shelter and Santa’s Express. We’ve also sent occasional collections to the St. Margaret sisters in Haiti to show our appreciation for what the sisters do on our behalf. We cannot match the generous giving of larger congregations nearby but this tiny Episcopal Church, in the view of its priest, ‘Punches above its weight’. We chiefly fulfill our apostolic ministry individually by commitment ‘to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.’

One member, only occasionally present on Sunday, is engaged caring for the infirm elderly at home. Our Treasurer is often absent, either active as a member of Mountain Rescue (helicopter crew) or on extended training. Another, John, is unable to attend church owing to paralysis. Father Basil brings the church to him after service and reminds him, “We are Church”. His wife, our Senior Warden, has his constant care, though with professional assistance. We have an excellent music tradition with a small pipe organ accompanied by a cellist and a soprano. Our Cellist is part of the annual Bear Valley Music Festival administration. She’s also involved in many other goings on in and about Murphys.

Evangelism engages us all, though not necessarily with new members but every one contributes magnificently to a warm and generous faith community, subject to fears for the future but always being reminded of the wider Diocese, and beyond, of which we are a significant part.

Live in the present. If you live in the past, God cannot be with you: His Name is not, ‘I was’. If you live in the future, God cannot be with you. His name is not, ‘I will be’. But if you live in the present, God says, “I am with you for my Name is I AM”. With that assurance, we look forward with hope.

We see the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament, but we are the Present Testament.

Fr. Basil Matthews

 

“Travel Light, leaving baggage behind.”

Luke 10:1-12

Car-thedra Fund…

 ”car- thedra  filler up”

artist The Rev. Stephen Bentley

We are but a few weeks into the “Car-thedra” Appeal.  Firstly, Episcopalians of San Joaquin, congratulations and exceedingly well done!  Secondly, I wish to offer this brief reflection concerning what I think this “drive to/in our prospective Car-thedra” is all about.  This appeal has far less to do with the ultimate purchase of a new Episcopal Ride than it pertains to the ability of a community to respond together.  In the simplest form, in light of a challenging history (yes, I am learning the extent to which this is an absurd understatement), amid uncertainty, and amongst what must feel like perpetual litigation, and the like, we can do something extraordinary and we can do it together.  So again, well done sisters and brothers.  Let’s make our goal by Diocesan Convention.  Let’s show that we can do wonderful things together.

 

Your Bishop,

+David

Please send your contributions to:

the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin

1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355

 

Please make your check payable to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin and please note “Bishop’s car” in the memo line.

 

Note: The Car-thedra fund now totals $15,757.00.

 

 Support the Car-thedra Fund…

Stole-Making Workshop

 

in Support of the Bishop’s Car-thedra Fund

Saturday, 6 December 2014

9am-5pm

Episcopal Church of the Saviour, Hanford

 

Fr. Luis Rodriguez will be leading an all-day practical workshop on traditional stole-making techniques (all by hand). The day’s aim is that each participant will leave with a completed stole, and so reasonable sewing skills are a requirement to help move things along smoothly. This workshop is limited to only 10 participants so that each can get individual attention. It will meet at the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford and the cost is $100, the entirety of which will go the Bishop’ Car-thedra Fund. A sack lunch will be provided. The registration fee does not cover materials, but good fabrics for stoles can be easily and relatively inexpensively acquired. An initial short meeting will be held at Diocesan Convention (time to be determined) to talk about materials needed. To register download, complete and return to the diocesan office the linked registration form (click here) along with a check to cover the cost. The deadline for for registration is Thursday, 23 October. If you have any questions, please contact Fr Luis by email (hanfordrector@gmail.com)  or phone 559-584-7706 559-584-7706.

.

From the Episcopal Church…


 

Office of Public Affairs

 

2014 Jubilee Ministry grant applications now accepted

 

[September 9, 2014] Samuel McDonald, Director of Mission and Deputy Chief Operating Officer, has announced that applications for Episcopal Church 2014 Jubilee Ministry grants are now being accepted in two categories: Program Development Grant and Program Impact Grants.

“Jubilee Centers are a vital and vibrant part of the mission of The Episcopal Church in our walk with those in need,” explained the Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner. “They highlight the numerous, varied, and locally managed ways that we are committed to making a meaningful impact against the cycle of poverty that holds hostage the lives of so many.”

Application forms are available at:  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/domestic-poverty-ministries

One Program Development Grant, up to $35,000, will be awarded to a new or existing ministry that can demonstrate a new or re-visioned strategy and methodology to make an impact both locally and beyond itself.

Ten to 20 Program Impact Grants, ranging from $750 to $1,500 each, will be awarded to initiatives of Jubilee Centers that make a positive and measurable impact in the lives of those in need.

Stevenson continued: “While Jubilee Centers with a wide variety of missions and programs dealing with poverty alleviation are encouraged to apply, priority in grant awards will be given to those ministries with a strong educational and/or early childhood development component to their work. For example, a feeding ministry that teaches nutrition skills to care-givers of children would have priority over a program that only provides meals.”

All currently designated Jubilee Centers are eligible for this year’s grants.

Deadline is Tuesday, September 30. Grant recipients will be announced in October.

Information for ministries seeking to become designated as a Jubilee ministry and benefit from the network of support and be eligible for future Jubilee grants, applications and explanation of the process is here http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/domestic-poverty-ministries

For more information contact Stevenson at mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org.

 

Call To Annual Convention…

Call to Annual Convention

Dio seal

The Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin
55th Annual Convention
October 24-25, 2014
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355

“Travel Light, leaving baggage behind.”
Luke 10:1-12
Renewal of Baptismal Vows with music

Friday 4p.m.

 

Holy Eucharist

Saturday 10a.m.

(Parishes bring banners, singers)

 

Clergy: White Stoles

 

Click below for the following forms/letters to find out more about annual convention and to register.

All members of our diocese are most welcome!

Safe Guarding God’s Children…

SafeGuarding Children On Line   

 

Please do not forget these special treasures.    

 

 

As the new school year begins and Sunday School starting, each diocesan member working with children must complete or have completed the training program developed by Praesidium for the Episcopal Church Pension Group.

 

Full listings of completed courses by churches and/or diocesan member are available upon request. Please direct your inquires to the Diocesan Coordinator for Safeguarding God’s Children, Stephanie Gilmer at mzgilmer@att.net.

 

Internet access to Safeguarding God’s Children: www.SafeguardingOnline.org

Thank you,

Peace and Abundance,

Stephanie Gilmer

 

For Northern Deanery…

Northern Deanery Meeting

 

The next Northern Deanery Meeting is scheduled for Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:00-11:30 a.m. at St. Paul’s, Modesto. 

For Central Deanery…

Central Deanery Meeting

 

The next Central Deanery Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, October 12, 2014, 3:00 p.m.  at Holy Family, Fresno. 

For Southern Deanery…

Southern Deanery Meeting

The next Southern Deanery meeting is scheduled for

11:00 a.m., St. Sherrian’s, Kernville.

From the Diocesan Office…

For Clergy:
The Clergy and Parish Directory is now being updated for next  year and will be handed out to you at Annual Convention. This year pictures  will be added to the directory. Please send in your portrait picture to the Diocesan Office NOW. All Clergy including deacons and postulants pictures are needed. Many thanks to Justo Andres (first picture in), Gail Bernthal, Heather Mueller, Elaine Breckenridge, Canon Kate, Anne Benvenuti, Stephen Bentley,  John Shumaker, Teri Van Huss, Luis Rodriguez, Steve Karcher, Tim Vivian, Kathleen West,  Carolyn Woodall, Connie Jacobs and Kathie Galicia for getting their pictures in promptly!

For Clergy, Vestries and Bishop Committees:

Important Annual Convention:
Assessment is to be current for each parish and mission to have seat and voice at Annual Convention.

Promote Annual Convention at all services and activities and have registration forms available.

Nomination Forms for Diocesan Council and Standing Committee are due September 10, 2014. Nomination forms can be found in FR section: Call to Convention. 

The Bronze Disaster Preparedness Plan:

Is to be completed by all parishes and missions and turned into the Diocesan Office. Many thanks to St. Clare of Assisi- Avery, St Matthew’s- San Andreas, St. James- Sonora, St. John the Baptist- Lodi, St. Raphael’s- Oakhurst, Holy Trinity- Madera, Church of the Saviour- Hanford, and  St. Paul’s- Bakersfield for completing their plan.

Great news! St. Paul’s, Modesto has joined the ranks of those who have completed their Bronze Disaster Preparedness Plan. Thank you St. Paul’s, Modesto.

For All Clergy and Parishioners:

The Diocesan Staff would appreciate your assistance in getting the contact information for the Provost, Chancellor, Dean, or President of the public and private universities, colleges and junior colleges in our geographical location. If you know who to contact, please call the diocesan office or email emeyer@diosanjoaquin.org.

ALL MAIL

for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Bishop, Canon, and Administrator is to be mailed to 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355.

Thank you,

Ellen Meyer,

Administrator

Whats going on…

What’s Happening in the DIO
 

Commission on Ministry Meeting, September 13, 2014, 10:00 a.m., Holy Family, Fresno

 

House of Bishops- Taipei, Taiwan September 15-24, 2014

 

Southern Deanery Meeting, September 20. 2014, 11:00 a.m., St. Sherrian’s,  Kernville

 

Standing Committee Meeting, September 27, 2014, 10.00 a.m., Holy Family, Fresno

 

Central Deanery Clericus, October 2, 2014, 11:00 a.m., St. Paul’s, Visalia

 

Northern Deanery Meeting, October 11, 2014, 10:00 a.m., St. Paul’s, Modesto

 

Convention Arrangement Committee, October 11, 2014, 11:30 a.m., St. Paul’s, Modesto

 

Central Deanery Meeting, October 12, 2014, 3:00 p.m., Holy Family, Fresno

 

Annual Convention, October 24-25, 2014, St. Paul’s, Modesto


   Click on the link below to see more upcoming events and meetings around the diocese.

 

From our Parishes and Missions..

Tostado Dinner

September 13, 2014,

4-7pm

St Francis Episcopal Church

915 East Main Street

Turlock, CA

Chef John Simkins

$8.00 a plate!

A great dinner for all!!!

Church of the Saviour
Hanford, CA

Book Signing  
at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Bakersfield

Sunday, October 19, at 11:45
in the parish hall. Admission is free.

The Rev. Dr. Anne Benvenuti

 

The Rev. Dr. Anne Benvenuti, Assisting Priest at St. Paul’s Bakersfield, who lives in Kernville, has recently released a new book, Spirit Unleashed: Reimagining Human-Animal Relations. The book has been nominated for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction by her publisher, Wipf and Stock.

 

Dr. Benvenuti is participating in a series of activities related to this book and to the role of religions in eco-spirituality.  She attended the Summer Session at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics in July.  She is scheduled to speak at the UN NGO Conference at the UN Center in New York City on the topic of The Earth Charter and the Beloved Community on August 27th.  Additionally, Dr. Benvenuti has been invited to the Religions for the Earth Conference at Union Seminary in New York in September. She is one of 200 religious leaders selected by Karenna Gore to develop strategies for religious leadership in preparation for the UN Climate Summit and for embracing ecological ethics more broadly.  Benvenuti will address the spiritual connection of humans and other animals as part of a panel on Spiritual Experience in Nature.

 

Dr. Benvenuti will also be taking part in a series of readings and book signings this fall, including Brown University, University of Chicago, the American Folklore Society meeting in Santa Fe, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Bakersfield.

The event at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2216 17th Street, Bakersfield, CA and  will take place on Sunday, October 19, at 11:45 in the parish hall. Admission is free.

                                                     

 St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

 Wednesday Educational Events  

  6:30 p.m. -8:00 p.m.

  703 5th Street, Taft, CA

September 17, 2014

Bible Study on the book of Ecclesiastes with The Rev. Heidi Edson

September 24, 2014

Film featuring the ministries of Fr. Damien and Mother Marianne Cope of Molokai who have been made Saints in the Roman Catholic Church.

October 1, 2014

Film ” Brother Son and Sister Moon ” about St. Francis

October 8, 2014  

Presentation on Hospice

End- of- life – directions will be available

October 15, 2014

Roots and Dreams and Transformations in the Emerging Church

with The Rev. Nancy McMaster

October 22, 2014

The Camino

with Andrew Matthews

Photos and stories of his journey on The Camino which is The Way of St. James, from the Pyrenees in France to Santiago in Spain, that has been walked for over 1000 years

October 29, 2014

Walking the Labyrinth

November 5, 2014

The Evil Associated With Lying

with Mary Vera

November 12, 2014

What Makes the Episcopal Church Unique

with The Rev. Heather Mueller

November 19, 2014

Presentation on Centering Prayer by Thomas Keating

November 26, 2014

Women of the Bible

with Ashley Musick

 

Educ 

                                                     

Dear long- time and new friends of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church,

 

We are writing to inform you of a very important gathering which is coming up on the Feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2014.

 

We are hoping that you will mark your calendar, save the date and plan to attend the celebration here at St. Andrew’s which will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone. The laying of the cornerstone, for the structure of the church building, was November 30, 1934. It was the beginning of a community-wide project. We are told that many people, in Taft, were involved in the making of the adobe bricks. They were formed out of the soil in this place.

 

We request the honor of your presence at the 10:00 AM service on November 30, 2014. The Rt. Rev’d David Rice, The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, will preside at the worship service.

The service will be followed by a luncheon gathering, and at that luncheon we will have members and previous members reminisce about some of the important events in the history of St Andrew’s.

 

To honor our Scottish connection, we will also share in a wonderful Scottish meal. So far the menu will include…..Cottage Pie, Cock-a-Leaky soup, Scottish eggs, clootie dumplings and Short bread. I hear there may even be haggis???

 

The congregation of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, is looking forward to welcoming everyone who has had and does have, a connection with this beautiful church. Let us gather to celebrate our past and look forward to the future, of this important place of worship in Taft, California!

 

Let us celebrate together, In Christ,

 

The Congregation of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church

 

 

Diocesan Website and Facebook…
 Have you checked it out?

Keep up to date on news and events with our
Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin website 

www.diosanjoaquin.org  

Facebook  
Check out postings from Bishop David and Canon Kate at 
Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin 

For the Bishop and  Canon’s Calendar…

Bishop David’s Calendar -Click Here
 
Canon Kate’s Calendar-Click Here

 

For our Diocesan Prayer Calendar….click here

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Sermon

Proper 25, Year A

          The collect asks God to increase in us the gifts of faith, hope and charity; make us love what you command.   In the time of Jesus, God’s commands were numerous – over 600 rules for the Jewish person to heed.  How difficult to keep all the laws, and yet the Pharisees and Sadducees and the chief priests and the elders of the temple did it.  They kept the letter of the law, but not necessarily the heart of the law.  So this morning they are still trying to trap Jesus with a test.  What is the greatest law?

          Who knows what they expected him to say.  Instead he gives us the commandment, the law that we try to live by today…”love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” is part 1 and the part 2 is to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  I’m thinking that they are impressed with his answer – not that they like it, but he sure had a good answer.  Jesus returns the favor and asks them a question, a question they cannot answer and it ends the game.  “From that day no one dared to ask him anymore questions.”  Can you love what God has commanded? 

          The theme for the Diocesan Convention was ‘travel light…leaving baggage behind.’  We spent heard about baggage from Bishop David and why it’s necessary to leave it behind.  Baggage can be things –possessions we can’t give up; possessions we love more than God or our neighbors.  Baggage can be relationships that have hurt us and hinder us from moving forward – like a diocese that has been isolated and abused.  Baggage can be ideas or habits that we’ve had for so long, we aren’t able to hear or see what new things God is doing in our community. 

Bishop David demonstrated with an amusing visual on Friday evening.  He left the Renewal of Baptismal Vows service at the peace.  When he returned he had traded his cope and miter for a fishing vest, waders, sunglasses and a hat.  He talked about when he first began fly fishing he got all the equipment and clothing so that he could fit in with other fly fishermen.  Then he proceeded to show us what he wears when he goes fly fishing.  He removed the heavy 39 pocket vest filled with all the gear.  He removed the waist high waders.  He was left in a pair of shorts, his clergy shirt, and he slipped on a pair of sandals.  Okay, I’m sure that he wears a t-shirt instead of his purple clergy shirt, but we got the idea.  Baggage needs to be set aside.  It weighs us down and hinders our ability to act.

          This reminded me of an experience I had at a women’s cursillo many years ago.  I’ve told this story before.  We were half way through the weekend and were doing an exercise of washing each other’s hands.  One woman sat at her table and sobbed.  She couldn’t have her hands washed.  Now understand she is one of the those people who are so positive, generous and loving to others that they make your day brighter just by being with them.  It took several minutes, but she was able to share her thoughts with us.  She carried so much baggage that she literally felt like she was holding it all in big shopping bags.  She couldn’t open her hands to let someone wash them because she would drop all her bags, and so she could only clench her hands shut.  Yes, she eventually was able to open her hands and place them in the basin of water, but we had no idea that she felt that way or that she carried such burdens.  We could see the joy that came from setting that baggage down.

          If we are holding on to baggage, we need to spend our time and energy focused on it – holding it, carrying it.  We can’t focus on God or on the people around us, our neighbors.  We can’t keep God’s commandment to love God with all we have and to love ourselves and our neighbor.  That is why Jesus tells those who will listen that those are the greatest commandments and all the laws are encompassed by them.  Putting God first helps us to let go of baggage.  What helps you remember to put God first?

          Our meditation this morning uses the example of making the sign of the cross.  The cross is a symbol many Christians use to help them remember to put God first, but something else may be more relevant or helpful for you.  Prayer beads, an icon, the Lord’s Prayer, a butterfly, a rainbow – whatever works for you. 

This week, think about what helps you focus on God being present.  What baggage would you like to give up?   What do you need to give up?  What do we as the community of St. Anne’s carry as baggage?  I invite you to mentally bring that baggage to the altar at the Eucharist and set it down.  Leave your baggage and open your hands to receive Christ.  Then you will be able to go out with love to put God first.   AMEN.

Sermon

Proper 18, Year A

 Do this for the remembrance of me…

Note:  This is a Children’s sermon, and there are props and dialogue which will not be recorded in this sermon because it hasn’t happened yet.

 For those who are not here in person, this is the set-up.  I bring out a small table and a large bag.  The children are invited to come forward.  I begin to pull things out of the bag and set them on the table.  Some wrapped boxes…toy plastic flutes…some party hats…a pan with something baked in it…a package of candles.  Put some candles in the cake (that’s what is in the pan).  

Ask the children if they know what all of this might be for.   A birthday party?  Yes!  Do we all have birthdays?  Do you celebrate your birthday with most of these things?  Would you have a party with cake and candles, hats, presents and maybe toys to share?  We commemorate (remember in a special way) our birthday.  In the Hebrew scripture this morning we hear a story about the first commemoration of the Passover.

Moses and Pharaoh have been arguing about letting the people of Israel go from slavery in Egypt.  God has sent plagues to make Pharaoh and the Egyptians miserable so that he will let the Israelites leave.  The tenth plague is coming – “about midnight, the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die”, from Pharaoh to the slave to the livestock.  God tells Moses to have the people prepare, and put the blood of the lamb around their door.  When God comes through in the night, God will “pass over” the homes marked with blood and no plague shall destroy the firstborn of that house.  Further, God says, “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you.  You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord…”  And it happened just like God said.  To this day our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Passover feast in the spring remembering how God saved the people that night and how God has saved the people many times before and after.  To the children: Now if you will have a seat in the front or you may return to your parents if you wish.

As Christians, we don’t celebrate Passover.  The last time Jesus was in Jerusalem and celebrating the Passover meal in a room with his friends, he changed the commemoration.  He did something new.  “While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat: This is my body.’  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”  (Matthew 26:26-28) 

Does that sound familiar?  That is our Christian Passover.  Every Sunday we remember how Jesus has given us life.  We celebrate the eucharist as a commemoration of what Jesus did.  He gave himself to heal the world.  Our part is to remember his gift and to try every day to love each other. 

God is always present.  Usually we need God the most when we are alone.  How can you remember that God is always with you?  For many Christians, the cross is a way to remember that God is present all the time.  I know that some of you have crosses you wear that have special meaning – maybe they were a special gift or a birthday present.  This morning, I have a cross that I invite you to take.  It’s one that can be stuck above your bed, or on the dash of your car, or on the door of your locker; somewhere you can see it to remind you that God is there.  When you need to talk to God, you can.  Put it where you might need a reminder to feel God’s presence in your day.              AMEN.

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Sermon
Proper 17, Year A

Bring forth in us the fruit of good works…

How does God talk with you? What does it take to get your attention, to make you stop and listen, to hear? Some people are really good at discerning God all the time. Others, like me, not so much. Too often God needs a 2 x 4, that’s something like the burning bush that is not consumed for Moses. God hears our needs, observes our misery and our joys – God is always present in our life. We don’t always notice it.
In this story from the Hebrew scripture, God is asking Moses to help the people in captivity, to lead them “to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey. Remember that Moses has fled from his posh position in Pharaoh’s court to become a shepherd in a land far away. As a young man, the adopted son of the daughter of Pharaoh, he learns he is an Israelite and that his siblings and mother are slaves. A few days later he tries to help some of the slaves that are being harassed and ends up killing one of the Egyptian taskmasters. So he runs away – far away. Now God is calling him to go back to Pharaoh and bring his people out of Egypt.
This morning we hear the first of many conversations that Moses will have with God as he attempts to get out of doing this task, and then as he is trying to accomplish the task. Moses doesn’t really have a relationship with the people he is supposed to help. He doesn’t know their names or anything about their lives – he didn’t live with them. Moses does know God. Moses listens to what God wants him to do, and then, reluctantly at first, he tries to do the work that God has given him to do. Moses chooses to serve the Lord, to do good works.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he is encouraging the Christians to listen to the word of God. Society is tough for those people; Christians are persecuted. They are a strange minority religion in a city with many different religions. God sends Paul to give them counsel on how to live a life of good works in a culture that values earthly power and riches. The list of things that Paul encourages them to do, we are encouraged to do today. It is not an easy list. “Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good, love one another…rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer…extend hospitality to strangers…bless those who persecute you…live in harmony with one another…do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly…do not pay anyone evil for evil…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink…” So which of those things is hard for you to do? What has God been calling you to do?
Jesus is preparing his disciples for what is to come. It’s not a pretty picture, and it’s not the victory that those who have been following him envisioned. They expect that the messiah will triumph over all who oppress the Israelites (much like Moses who leads the people out of slavery to a good land – their own land) and that they will have peace in a land of milk and honey. Jesus sets them straight. The victory is going to be eternal life overcoming death. Our part is to let go of our love of life as society may dictate as successful and live a life that God dictates as successful. Serve the Lord by bearing fruit of good works.
What has God been calling you to do? That might be the wrong question. What is God doing in the community and how can we be part of God’s work? The emphasis is that God is working whether we choose to do anything or not. God does call us, continually. It’s just not always to do something comfortable. In his last Friday reflection, Bishop David suggested that it may be better stewardship to replace our church lawns with gardens. Can you imagine our neighbors’ reaction if we did that – planted lots of tomatoes, beans, carrots, corn, squash? I was talking with the Bishop about this and how I imagined we would get word from the neighborhood association in short order. We talked about how our church should be a reminder – even an irritant – to our neighbors. Our church should be about raising social issues to the attention of the affluent whether they are sitting in the pews or living in the blocks around us. We’re not a social club; we are called to work with God.
Many of you are involved with groups that are already doing this work. We need to hear from you. How are you helping do God’s work in our community? Are there ways that others can get involved, too? Last Sunday I talked about the Community Partnership for Families and the different programs they are developing with recently released prisoners. Some of us got involved with their backpack project. I know that we have parishioners who are members of the Assistance League, coach youth sports, volunteer for Hospice, and other organizations who are working with God in our community. It’s time to let the rest of us know what you are doing.
I am going to put up a large poster in the back…a Fruits of Good Works. There will be pens available. List your name and the work that you do. If you have a picture you can post, please put it up there. We need to see some of the outreach that is being done by members of St. Anne’s. God is working here in Stockton and we have been called to follow. God promises “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We can do this – together.

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