The Friday Reflection Title

 

It’s Not About the Bag

Holy Family has become a sanctuary for numerous homeless persons who spend the night in what they perceive to be a safe place.

Click To See More

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

BEFORE her drinking spiraled out of control, Sylvia Dobrow “drank like a lady,” as she put it, matching her wine to her sandwiches: “Tuna and chardonnay, roast beef and rosé.” But soon she was “drinking around the clock,” downing glasses of vodka and skim milk.

“When you try to hide your drinking from your grandchildren, you do whatever you can,” said Ms. Dobrow, 81, a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother living in Stockton, Calif.

A former hospital educator, Ms. Dobrow’s alcohol consumption became unmanageable after she lost her job and subsequently “lost my identity,” she said.

One night in early 2007, after a particularly excessive alcohol binge, Ms. Dobrow fell out of bed and suffered a black eye. That was when her two daughters, one of whom was a nurse, took her to Hemet Valley, a recovery facility in Hemet Valley, Calif., that caters to adults age 55 and older. Ms. Dobrow, who was 73 at the time, stayed for 30 days, which cost roughly $20,000, about $13,000 of which was covered by insurance. When she returned home, she continued with a 12-step program. She has been sober ever since.

An estimated 2.8 million older adults in the United States meet the criteria for alcohol abuse, and this number is expected to reach 5.7 million by 2020, according to a study in the journal “Addiction.” In 2008, 231,200 people over 50 sought treatment for substance abuse, up from 102,700 in 1992, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a federal agency.

While alcohol is typically the substance of choice, a 2013 report found that the rate of illicit drug use among adults 50 to 64 increased from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 6.0 percent in 2013.

“As we get older, it takes longer for our bodies to metabolize alcohol and drugs,” said D. John Dyben, the director of older adult treatment services for the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Someone might say, ‘I could have two or three glasses of wine and I was fine, and now that I’m in my late 60s, it’s becoming a problem.’ That’s because the body can’t handle it.”

Many, although certainly not all, of these older individuals with alcohol problems are retired.

Over the course of 10 years, Peter A. Bamberger and Samuel B. Bacharach, co-authors of “Retirement and the Hidden Epidemic,” conducted a study funded by the National Institutes of Health on substance abuse in older adults. They found that the impact of retirement on substance abuse was “anything but clear cut, with the conditions leading to retirement, and the economic and social nature of the retirement itself, having a far greater impact on substance use than simple retirement itself,” said Mr. Bamberger, who is also research director of the Smithers Institute at Cornell University.

But events that arise in later life often require coping skills older adults may not possess. Some retirees are lonely and depressed, and turn to alcohol or drugs to quell their anxieties. Others may drink to deal with late-life losses of spouses, friends, careers and purpose.

“In retirement there can be depression, divorce, death of a spouse, moving from a big residence into a small residence,” said Steven Wollman, a substance abuse counselor in New York, . “For anyone who’s an addict, boredom’s the No. 1 trigger.”

Sandra D., 58, who works in the financial services industry in Toronto, said that her father’s drinking increased so much after he retired that she often took the car keys away from him.

“He and his friends meet for cocktails at about 3 or 4 and then he passes out, which he calls a ‘nap,’ ” said Ms. D., who asked that her full last name not be used. “My dad didn’t plan out his retirement well. My mom was very ill for many years before she passed away, and my dad was a caregiver. He was pretty well looking after the house and taking care of her. When she passed away, there was a very big void for him.”

Ms. D. said her father, an 82-year-old former maintenance worker, doesn’t believe he drinks too much, a common perception among many seniors.

“People are really good at redefining things,” said Stephan Arndt, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Iowa and director of the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation. “They say, ‘I don’t have a problem, I just like to drink.’ Or, ‘I’m a big guy, I can handle it.’ In the case of prescription drugs, it’s, ‘Well, I got it from my doctor, and it’s for my pain. It’s medication.’ Consequently, they don’t seek help.”

Physicians often aren’t trained to talk to their older patients about chemical dependency — or, perhaps more pointedly in an era of managed care, they often don’t have the time to thoroughly screen a patient. Also, many signs of chemical dependence like memory loss and disorientation resemble normal symptoms of aging. “Is this person confused because they’re messing up their meds, or is it dementia?” said Brenda J. Iliff, the executive director of Hazelden, a residential treatment center in Naples, Fla., that offers special programming baby boomers and older adults for about $21,000 a month. “Is their diabetes out of control, or did they fall and break their hip because they were woozy from Atavan?”

Another misconception is that older adults don’t benefit from treatment. “There’s this lore, this belief, that as people get older they become less treatable,” said Paul Sacco, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, who researches aging and addiction. “But there’s a large body of literature saying that the outcomes are as good with older adults. They’re not hopeless. This may be just the time to get them treatment.”

Pamela Noffze was 58 when she arrived at Hazelden‘s center in Naples for treatment. At her worst, she was drinking a case of light beer a day, but she didn’t think she had an issue until her daughter threatened to ban her from seeing her grandsons again unless she sought help. “That’s when I knew I had to do something,” said Ms. Noffze.

On her first night at Hazelden, she discovered that she was also addicted to Klonopin, an anti-anxiety medication that her psychiatrist had prescribed in 2009 to help her cope with a divorce. Weaning herself off prescription medications was harder than stopping drinking, she said. Still, she has not had a sip of alcohol or any pills since rehab.

Ms. Noffze, now 61, who lives in Naples and is unemployed, regularly attends 12-step meetings. She said she was astonished at the number of people who “have their cocktails every night, and the next thing they know they find themselves addicted because some doctor gave them Ambien to sleep or they were on pain pills for arthritis or whatever,” she said. “You put those two together and you put yourself over the edge.”

As for Ms. Dobrow, she was so emboldened by her recovery that in 2010 she went back to school to get a credential as a substance abuse counselor. She now works part time counseling older adults at Hemet Valley.

“Losing your purpose in life is the singular thing that hurts people,” said Ms. Dobrow. “We involve so much of our ego in our career, but these last seven and a half years have been the most fulfilling of my life, because I can help people. What is when people used to wear a sandwich board and walk around in a commercial? I feel that mine says ’Hope’ on the front and on the back.”

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Sermon

Proper 15, Year A

Have mercy on us Lord…

For those who have been to an Episcopal general convention or EYE 2014 (in person or through You Tube broadcast), you have had the experience of hearing the Rt. Rev. Michael Curry preach.  When the Bishop gets up to preach, you settle in because he is going to speak for a while – a long while in Episcopal terms.  But he is going to come at you with energy and passion. 

(Describe the experience at EYE in Philadelphia – one word “go”)

          The word this morning is mercy.  It runs through our lessons and our hymn selections at the 10 o’clock service.  Now I thought that the reading from Genesis, the end of the Joseph story, was about forgiveness, which is different than mercy.  But Joseph plays two roles; publically he is a ruler in Egypt and controls who gets food and how much in these years of wide spread famine.  Privately, he is the little brother that was sold into slavery by his siblings.  Okay, Joseph does have his fun when he accuses them as spies and has them put in prison for a few days.  He orders one brother to remain in prison while the others go back to Canaan, with full sacks of grain, and to prove they are not spies, to bring his brother Benjamin back with them to Egypt.  As a ruler, Joseph shows mercy to his brothers; as a sibling, he shows forgiveness.

          What is mercy?  What does it mean?  Checking the HarperCollins Bible Dictionary, “Mercy is an attribute of both God and the good human being.  Hebrew uses several words for “mercy,” of which the most frequent is hesed, which mean loving-kindness, mercy, love, loyalty, and faithfulness.  Another Hebrew word and the Greek word for mercy in the New Testament refer to the emotion aroused by contact with undeserved suffering, that is, compassion and a deeply felt love for a fellow human being…grace is also another word used to mean mercy…Divine and human mercy are closely associated with justice and righteousness because all refer to behavior appropriate to a relationship…Jesus shows mercy to the needy…” Mercy is an attribute, showing compassion for someone suffering undeservedly.  Joseph as a ruler is providing grain to all the people who are suffering the famine, even those who are not from Egypt, because the whole area will suffer from the seven year famine.  Joseph recognizes that God has turned their actions – selling their brother into slavery – as a way to save the famiy; “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.”  In Egypt the Israelites will have a place to live and work and multiply; without it Israel’s (Jacob’s) family would perish.  Mercy, compassion for the underserved suffering.

The Gospel for this morning has an interesting and uncharacteristic story of Jesus encountering someone asking for help and his ignoring them.  We left out reading the optional story this morning of the encounter with the Pharisees where they challenge Jesus about dietary laws.  He tells the disciples that it is not what goes into a person that defiles them, but it is what comes out of a person’s mouth via their heart that defiles them.  Some time passes as they walk 25 or 30 miles over the next couple days.  Jesus must be contemplating the recent events.  A Canaanite woman comes to their group and shouts for help and mercy.  Jesus ignores her.  Then the disciples ask him to send her away; they too assume that he will help her and send her on her way.  But he tells them that he was only sent to help the house of Israel, but he has healed outcasts and Gentiles before.  His refusal to help her, even when she comes and kneels before him begging for help, isn’t what we expect. 

Jesus dismisses her with “it’s not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”  The woman replies, “even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”.  You can almost see his face break into a little smile as he tells her that her request is granted.  The woman notices that Jesus used the word, not for stray dogs that wander the streets, but for household pets.  Pets are not outsiders but insiders.  The pets do get to lie under the table and eat scraps that fall or are tossed to them.  This foreign woman asked Jesus for mercy, the same mercy Jesus had asked the Pharisees to show. 

We can have fun speculating on why Jesus acted the way he did with this woman.   Has he decided that he must give all his time and energy to his own people?  That he needs to really concentrate on helping the religious leaders to ‘see’ what God originally planned for Israel and how they may have erred?  Is it the human behavior of frustration and tired of dealing with those who just don’t get it?  Did he know that her faith was strong and that this would be a good learning exercise for his disciples and for us?

Yes, for us.  Because we are challenged daily to be merciful.  At times, showing mercy to someone we love is not the same as being nice.  The phrase ‘tough love’ comes to mind.  When our behavior is enabling or co-dependent, we are not being compassionate to one we care about.  We are not showing mercy and love because it is not a behavior appropriate to our relationship.  It is hard to change.  We, like Jesus in the gospel, are challenged to be merciful with the stranger.  One afternoon, a man pulled into the office parking lot in an old car and he looked – well – scruffy.  My first thought was ‘What now?’  But as he came to the door, I smiled and said hello.  He needed help with an address – that’s all.  He was looking for 1032 Lincoln at which point I knew he was probably looking for Lincoln Street.  But it began a very short conversation and my attitude was changed; he was not a stranger, he was a father looking for a son who was dying…so he could say good-bye.

Lord, grant me the grace to get past the ‘what now’ and be open to hearing the request for mercy.  Let your wisdom guide my responses, and may I strive to be merciful in my encounters.  AMEN. 

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

It took a few days to deliver the donations to the group of homeless people because they have to constantly keep moving. They were very happy to receive the items and are doing well. They are still building bicycles and pursuing their dreams.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

 

Click Below To Reserve Your Place Now!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

 The Friday Reflection Title

3-28-2014

Dear Friends,

 

On March 5, 2011 I was elected and then Seated as the Bishop Provisional of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  On Saturday, March 29, 2014, I will cease to be the Bishop of this Diocese with the election of the next Bishop. I most sincerely thank you all, lay and clergy of the Diocese, for your love and support and for the privilege of engaging in ministry with all of you.

 

I have come to know this as a Diocese of courageous and committed people who are dedicated to serving Christ as members of the Episcopal Church.

 

April and I will return permanently to Southern California and to “retirement” on March 29.

 

The Diocese of San Joaquin, its life and ministry, clergy and people, will always now be in our thoughts and prayers.

 

With gratitude, and appreciation, and thanksgiving I am,

 

Faithfully yours,

 

+Chet Talton

 

“Participating in God’s Reconciling Love”

Friday Reflection is taking a break next week.
The next edition will be April 11, 2014

Call to Special Convention…

TOMORROW!

 

Dio seal

The Recognition and Seating

of the

 Provisional Bishop

The Rt. Rev. David Rice

 

March 29, 2014

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield

 

2216 17th Street

Bakersfield, CA 93301

Click here for Special Convention Schedule 

Check here for Special Convention Registration Form

 

Invitation to Sing at Special Convention...

The Choir of St. Paul’s Church in Bakersfield and director, Christopher Borges, would like to invite members of the Diocese to participate with them in singing at the service for the Seating of Bishop David Rice on Saturday, March 29.  There will be a rehearsal that Saturday morning at 11am in the Choir Room.
Please contact Fr. Vern at
vwhill44@hotmail.com for an email advance copy of the music.

For Northern Deanery

CONVENTION BUS INFORMATION

The Northern Deanery bus to the Special Convention in Bakersfield will depart the Modesto Vintage Faire Mall Park and Ride promptly at 5:30 AM on Saturday.  The Park and Ride can be reached from southbound 99 by exiting on Pelendale.  Turn south on Sisk Road.  The Park and Ride will be on the left connected to the mall parking area near Penny’s.  The Park and Ride can be reached from northbound 99 by exiting at Standiford and then north on Sisk Road.  The Park and Ride will be on the right.  For the return trip the bus will depart St. Paul’s Bakersfield no later than one half hour after the close of the last Convention activity.  On the 29th the following numbers can be used as contacts for the bus:(209) 765-392(209) 765-3928 or 765-3246.

                 

For Clergy…

Attention Clergy! 
The liturgical color for the Celebration and Seating of Bishop Rice  following the Special Meeting of Convention on March 29  is red.

AND
This week you should have been contacted by regular mail by the Church Pension Group. Church Pension is sending you a NEW CONTACT NUMBER.

This new number will enable you to log on to www.cpg.org and see all of your benefit information on one page. This means that you will be able to see your own individual Pension, Medical, Disability and Life Insurance information that you currently have through Church Pension all on one integrated page.

 

Please pay attention to your mail from Church Pension and do try to log-on to see how the new system operates. If you need help, or have not received a new number, please contact Canon Cullinane at   209-222-7124  or kcullinane@diosanjoaquin.org

For Lent…

 

               

Walk through Lent with beautiful daily devotions,

The Lent App (for iPhone)


Illustrated with art by the inimitable Roger Hutchison, author of The Painting Table, and inspirational daily reflections by beloved author and Spiritual Director Mary C. Earle provide food for the journey. A built in journal function lets you record your own thoughts, and you can share Scripture, the daily image, or your own thoughts via email or social media.

 Learn More

 

GOOD FRIDAY OFFERING

 

Since 1922, Episcopalians have supported the ministries of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East through the Good Friday Offering. Through the work of the Episcopal dioceses in the Middle East, Christians maintain a peacemaking and stabilizingpresence in the region, serving their neighbors regardless of faith background.

 

To make a donation  to  the Good Friday Offering, please write a check  payable to the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, write “Good Friday Offering” in the memo line, and mail to:

 

DFMS – Protestant Episcopal Church US

P.O. Box 958983
St. Louis, MO 63195-8983

 

Click here for Good Friday Offering Resources

 

From the Office of Public Affairs…

 

Justice and Advocacy Fellowships

applications accepted 

for poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship

 

[March 18, 2014] Applications are now accepted for one-year and two-year Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for social justice and advocacy work for The Episcopal Church.

 

The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Stewardship, new initiatives of The Episcopal Church, will provide financial support for service, professional development and education to those who are engaged in poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship. Hands-on experience, professional training and leadership development are intrinsic in the Fellowships.

 

Focusing on the Anglican Marks of Mission Mark 4 and Mark 5, the 2014 Justice and Advocacy Fellowships are sponsored by the Episcopal Church Office of Justice and Advocacy Ministries.

 

The Domestic Poverty Fellowships are one-year each and call for addressing domestic poverty in communities. The Environmental Stewardship Fellowship are two-years each and will provide leadership on key environmental issues in affected domestic communities.

 

Fellowships range from $24,000 over one year to $48,000 over two years.

 

Details, requirements, special data and instructions on applying are located herehttp://www.episcopalchurch.org/form/justice-and-advocacy-fellowships

 

“The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships for Domestic Poverty and Environmental Stewardship are ideal opportunities to focus on a myriad of possibilities, such as engaging in work with the poor, prisons, poverty, healthcare, climate change, water conservation, and other important issues of our society,” explained The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Domestic Poverty Missioner. “The Justice and Advocacy Fellowships are available to candidates from any ethnic background or geographical location.”

 

Deadline for applications is May 9.

 

For more information contact Stevenson at Mstevenson@episcopalchurch.org or Jayce Hafner, Episcopal Church Domestic Policy Analyst, at jhafner@episcopalchurch.org.

 

The Episcopal Church: www.episcopalchurch.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/episcopalian

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamepiscopalian

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EpiscopalChurchYT

 

On the web:

Justice and Advocacy Fellowships applications accepted for poverty alleviation and environmental stewardship

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/notice/justice-and-advocacy-fellowships-applications-accepted-poverty-alleviation-and-environmental-

 

Women’s Retreat…


Dying and Living into Resurrection…Now.

 

As we celebrate Easter, we can find ourselves wondering – “What are we doing?”  Are we celebrating a past or historical event – the resurrection of Jesus?  Or are we praying into a future hope for ourselves?  Either way, is there anything the resurrection can say to us right now?  Is resurrection a “present moment” event?  This year the Diocesan Women’s Retreat will focus around these questions.  We will gather in the beautiful surroundings of ECCO, and through scripture, addresses, music, silence and meditation seek to encounter resurrection not as a past event or a future promise, but a present reality.  Once again this year, the Rev’d Luis Rodriguez will be our retreat leader.  Fr Luis is the rector of the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford and has a background in theology,counseling and spiritual direction.

 

Women’s Retreat

May 2-4, 2014

ECCO

Be on the look out for Registration Form  

in an upcoming email. 

From the Diocesan Office…

Since you have asked….

Bishop David now has an email and it is: bishopdavid@diosanjoaquin.org

ALL MAIL.

for the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin, Bishop, Canon, and Administrator is to go to the current address: 1528 Oakdale Road, Modesto, CA 95355

Time sensitive material can be emailed to emeyer@diosanjoaquin.org.

Whats going on…

Want to know what is happening in the Diocese of San Joaquin?

Special Convention, Saturday, 11:00 a.m. March 29, 2014, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

Registration starting at 9:30 a.m.

 

Chrism Mass, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 11.00 a.m. Church of the Saviour, Hanford

 

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

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

From Our Parishes and Missions…

EVERY FRIDAY IN LENT

PARISH LENTEN DEVOTIONS

6 pm  STATIONS OF THE CROSS
and

BENEDICTION OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

(followed in the Parish Hall with a Soup Supper)

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church

414 Oak Street,

San Andreas, CA

April 4, 2014

LENTEN FISH FRY

 

The Episcopal Church of the Saviour, Hanford

 

In keeping with the Church’s ancient Lenten tradition, the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford (519 N. Douty St.) will be hosting its annual Fish Fry on Friday, 4 April 2014, from 5:00pm-7:30pm.  Come along for a wonderful fish supper and fellowship, or take your meal “to go”.  Tickets are $15.00 and can be purchased at the church office or at the door the night of the event.  Please contact the Church of the Saviour with any questions at ecosoffice@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

May 3, 2014

THE SPRING TEA

Christ The King will host their annual Spring Tea on Saturday, May 3 beginning at 11:00 am. Reservations and tickets are available by calling the church office or from a church member. Click here for for flyer for details and to post in your church.

 May 16-17, 2014
Friday and Saturday
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Bakersfield
Join Bishop David Rice
for a Weekend with an Internationally Known Visionary,
Author, Lecturer, & Entrepreneur
Fr. Eric Law, Episcopal Priest

 

Friday, March 16
Check-in 4pm Breakfast 8-9am
Dinner 5pm Session I 9-11:30am
Program 6-8pm
 

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Check-in 4pm Breakfast 8-9am
Dinner 5pm Session I 9-11:30am
Program 6-8pm Lunch 11:30-12:30
Session II 12:30-2:30
Break 2:30-2:45
Session III 3-5pm
Dinner 5-6pm
Session IV 6-7:30pm

 

Registration form online at www.stpaulsepiscopalbakersfield.org

 
 Click here for flyer to post.

 

For our Diocesan Prayer Calendar….click here

Bishop’s and Canon’s Visitations Calendars… 

Bishop Talton’s Calendar

 

March 29                         Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

 

Bishop Rice’s Calendar

 

March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

 

March 30                           St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

 

April 6                                St. Paul’s, Modesto

 

April 13                              St. Andrew’s, Taft

 

April 19                              St. Francis, Turlock

 

April 30                              Church of the Saviour, Hanford

 

 

Canon Cullinane’s Calendar

 

 

March 29                           Special Convention, St. Paul’s, Bakersfield

 

March 30                           St. Andrew’s, Taft

 

April 13                              St. Raphael’s, Oackhurst

 

April 20th                           Holy Trinity, Madera

 

 Have you checked it out?

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

www.diosanjoaquin.org
Click here:  Our Website  

Contributions to the Friday Reflection are most welcome and are due by the Tuesdaybefore the Friday Reflection is scheduled to go out. Articles are to be submitted in word document format and pictures in jpeg format for best results.

Contact Information: Ellen Meyer
emeyer@diosanjoaquin.org

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Sermon

Lent 2, Year A 2014

There are so many stories in the news this past week that are continuing sagas.  The Malaysian airliner just disappearing off the radar.  What is happening on the Google barge?  But the one that caught my attention was echoed by an op-ed piece in the paper Friday morning – “Template for how not to raise a child” by Ruben Navarrette.  He referred to the story of Rachel Canning suing her parents for support – as she deems it – not necessarily as we would define it.  I thought about how she is looking for her parents to give so she can receive; how Rachel is not taking responsibility for or paying the price for her own needs and desires. 

Made me think about parents and children.  My dad taught me unconditional love, but that didn’t mean he didn’t let us fail.  It meant that he was there to help us when we asked, to affirm that trying our best was all he needed to be proud of us, and to let us know that he always loved us even when we messed up and had to face the consequences.  I’ve tried to be that kind of parent to my daughters. 

If we take a look at the God of the Old Testament, we get a God who would be obeyed or else.  God’s covenant with the people in the Old Testament was that they would faithfully obey God’s commands and God would deliver the blessing of a land of their own and innumerable offspring.  God would give to the people what they needed to prosper.  It’s no wonder that people today can’t identify with a God to be feared.  If you had a parent like that, you don’t want to have anything to do with God or church.

As Christians we put our faith in the loving God.  The one who’s covenant was to give his son to redeem creation once and for all.  A God who waits patiently for us to turn back when we wander off and forget to stay in touch.  Nicodemus didn’t quite know about that God.  He was familiar with the concrete God of acts and consequence.  He couldn’t understand a God that could love him so completely that God would send the only son to save us and not condemn the world. 

I used these lessons yesterday morning for the baptism of an infant, Malia Villanueva.  I talked to those gathered about the concept of being born again.  Yes, we are born through the Holy Spirit at our baptism, but it struck me that we are born again every time we make a major life change. 

It’s a new life when we get our driver’s license and savor independence, which comes with increased responsibility.  It’s a new life when we first leave home and have to support ourselves.  It’s a new life when we get married or find our life partner.  It’s a new life when we become a parent.  It’s a new life when we become a grandparent.  We are the same person and we are not the same.  Growth should happen at each of these stages.  We learn to be responsible for ourselves, for our relationships, for someone who depends on us.  More maturity is required to successfully fulfill each of these roles.  Knowing that we are loved unconditionally by God, assures us that we can learn from our mistakes without fear of never getting another chance.  That’s how much God loves us.  

          So what does God ask of us?  Simply, to do the work that helps to heal our hurting world.  As a community which stage are we in – teen, just starting to support ourselves, ready to take care of each other, ready to expand the family?  I think we’re getting close.  We need individuals volunteering to participate in at least one ministry and we need to be involved in activities that are taking place (like the First Friday concerts) to build our own sense of community.  Are we ready to go out and do that work? 

Almost.  It will happen because the Holy Spirit is active within this congregation.  We have been born again, through our baptism in the spirit, and anointed as Christ’s own forever.  We know that God promises good things to those who believe, who have faith.  God was willing to give his son for the healing of the creation, so we who believe can receive eternal life.  And the son willing gave his life so that we might receive that promise. 

What are we willing to do?  Can we continue to grow in this faith together until we are able to go out into the community and do God’s work?  This week take time and consider these questions.  We don’t have to make any decisions right away.  We just have to try to be a little better each day.   AMEN.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

St Anne Hosted the Northern Deanery Meeting and Bishop David Rice and his wife Tracy were in attendance. He shared his passion and vision for the future of the San Joaquin Diocese and took questions from those in attendance. He is both inspired and inspiring with his plans to see our congregations reaching out into the community.  He received an enthusiastic welcome and we shared a delicious lunch.

 

 

 
 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS