Church Pulpit Posts
Octavia Butler was the first science-fiction writer to win the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. Commonly called the “MacArthur Genius Award,” these fellowships are dedicated to “celebrating and inspiring the creative potential of individuals through no-strings attached fellowships.” Butler’s creativity was unique. Blending social critique with visionary descriptions of alternate realities and possible futures both good and ill, her writing was profoundly prescient….
… There’s lots more to discuss in this challenging, brilliant novel. I hope you will join us from 10-10:45 or from 12:15-1:00 this Sunday to be part of the conversation!
As many of you know, I’ve just returned from my summer vacation, which I took a bit early this year. I was able to spend quality time with my family for the first time since the pandemic began, and I had some space to read, and kayak, and hike, and enjoy many other restorative activities. It was wonderful!
Although I did unplug somewhat during my time off, I also kept up with the news, which often provided a challenging contrast to my desire for relaxation. So many recent events were upsetting, and they provoked long and frustrating conversations and debates among my family members. Often we agreed on our feelings, but not always on how we should act in response…..
The CHA Vestry meets monthly, from September through June. Like most Vestries of most Episcopal churches, we do not gather in the summer months of July and August. During the height of the pandemic our Vestry met over Zoom, and as virus numbers have ebbed and flowed, we have continued this practice with only a few exceptions.
One of those exceptions occurred this past month. We found ourselves feeling comfortable about meeting (and eating!) in person, and we all agreed that time together live would be a lovely way to mark the end of the “program year.” The agenda was finalized, the reminders were sent out, the pizza was ordered and at the appointed time we sat around the rectangular tables on the first floor of the Mission House to talk through the business of our common life….
We’ve all excused ourselves in various ways for not doing what we should. Someone might say something like this, “I would pray or worship God more, but I’m just too busy.” “I would forgive that person, but you don’t know how mean they were to me.” “I would help more people, but they would probably just use what I give them to buy alcohol and drugs.” “I would quit my bad habits, but I don’t think it would last.” “I would tell others about Jesus and what He has done for me, but I’m too shy.”…
In my last written post, I shared my experience of being in a room with a group of people who continue to fight unjust systems and empower those within them to claim their voices. I acknowledged that now, as always, there are reasons to despair—and that those reasons do not create the sum total of our reality. We have choices about where we focus our attention. We have options when it comes to how we react to what we see….
Yesterday, June 9, was the feast day of St. Columba, Abbot of Iona. St. Patrick was said to have prophesied Columba’s birth:
He will be a saint and will be devout,
He will be an abbot, the king of royal graces,
He will be lasting and for ever good;
The eternal kingdom be mine by his protection.
That’s a lot of pressure! But Columba lived up to it, becoming a monk in his native Ireland, and then a missionary and a priest. He founded several monasteries in Ireland, and then headed to Northern Britain to evangelize further. Legend has it that his tiny boat first washed ashore on the Isle of Iona, on the coast of Scotland….
Last week I had the privilege of representing Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in receiving the Good Neighbor Award from an organization called helpNYC. HelpNYC is an organization started by Rue Parkin in response to the difficulties unhoused people have accessing services in New York City. The organization is peer based and empowering of individuals, rooted in the conviction that people are the experts in their own experiences and the best advocates for their own needs….
Jesus prays that we may be one. He prays that his followers may be one, in the same way as Jesus and God the Father are one. As Disciples of Christ, WE need to spread love and unity. The source of our unity is rooted in the unity of the triune God.
Jesus remains one with God the Father. His mind and heart are totally aligned with God’s will and intentions. That unity fuels and directs Jesus’ focus. It’s his center; it grounds him. It keeps him firmly planted through times of storm and trial. His unity with the Heavenly Father is his strength….
A farmer, working in his field, noticed his horse was sickly. Feeling compassion for the animal, he let it free to live the rest of its life in the mountains. Friends of the farmer noticed that he was working his land without the help of his horse. “How will you continue to grow your crops?” they asked. “How terrible!” To which the farmer responded, “Maybe. We shall see.”….
In The House at Pooh Corner, Winnie the Pooh is asked what he likes doing best in the world. He starts to say eating honey, but then reflects that there is “a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.”….
As we inch closer to the summer months, we may be starting to look forward to the possibilities that the season could bring. Most of all, we may be hoping for a more relaxed pace to life, a time when things slow down a little, and we can find some rest and renewal. Some among us, though, may have trouble with the idea of relaxing and slowing down ― or even if we want to do it, we find it very hard to shift out of our more usual compulsion to accomplish things. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I count myself in that group!) If you find yourself in that category too, I encourage you to read the passage above again ― Pooh and Christopher Robin might help us reframe things!
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