Monthly Archive for February, 2011

Epiphany 8 February 27, 2011

Isaiah 49:8-16a                                                                    

Matthew 6:24-34                                                                  

I do the grocery shopping in our household, and that requires me about once a month to go into Petco to buy cat food and litter. The cat food and litter department requires me to walk past the birds and small rodents in their glassed cages: parakeets, canaries, parrots, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets. They’re all there each time I walk past them, doing their caged animal things: eating, sleeping, running on treadmills, hopping about, looking out at me as I look in at them. There’s something very sad about them: all these creatures have been bred and raised in captivity. They’ve never known anything other than the lives they’re living, safe but confined, in those glass cages. And I think what does that say about me? About all of us? Continue reading ‘Epiphany 8 February 27, 2011’

Epiphany 6 February 13, 2011

This sermon was preached by Bishop Arthur Walmsley.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Matthew 5:21-37

“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him.”  — Deut. 30:19

Let me tell you about a young man named Ahmed.  We went with our daughter and a couple of friends in the fall of 2007 for a tour of the North African country of Morocco.  We had arranged the trip ourselves, and for the entire time we were in the country Ahmed was our guide and our driver.  As the trip went on, we got to know his story.  His father, whom we met along the way, was a lifelong tour guide.  Ahmed was ambitious, worked hard, went to university, got an undergraduate degree in economics, and later a master’s in computer science.  

But for him and literally hundreds of thousands of young people in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East there are no jobs commensurate with their education. As events have been unfolding in Egypt in the past three weeks, I have thought a good deal about Ahmed. We found out one day why he declined to have lunch with us; he would go off, roll out his prayer rug, and say noonday prayers because he was a faithful Muslim.  And so it appears as well that the energy in Egypt for the demonstrations in Tahrir Square has not been generated by violent Islamic fundamentalism but by the frustration of young people like Ahmed for whom their governments and their economies have no place for them.  That story is echoed by the countless journalists and others who have talked to the throngs of the young people who have been the energizing force of this non-violent revolution.  In Egypt, in Jordan, in Tunisia, in Yemen, there is a cry for change by the poor and the marginalized. In southern Sudan where our Anglican Church is very strong, upwards of 95% of the people last month voted to secede from an oppressive regime in Khartoum.  As Moses invites, Choose life and you and your descendants may live.

What does the Bible offer us as a way of responding to the global economic and social crises? Continue reading ‘Epiphany 6 February 13, 2011’

Builders of Holy Lives drama

We had a lot of fun with the little dramatic presentation on Sunday, February 20, of the readings for the day: God’s commandment that his people should be “holy” and Jesus’s teaching that we should be “perfect [complete] as God is perfect.” How do ordinary people struggle to fulfill these goals? What is holiness? The cast did a great job of suggesting the answers to these questions: God played by David Holmes, the teacher by Pat Karpen, the politician by Todd Charette, the parent by Tina Compagna and her daughter by Tammi Compagna, the businessman by John Heckman, Recession by David Roy, Time and Chance by Derek Larkin and Bobbi-Jo Plamondon, and the Vicar by himself. Here’s an album of photos:

Fr. John poses with the Lord God.

Fr. John poses with the Lord God.

The politician knocks down the "building" the teacher has been laboring over.

The politician knocks down the "building" the teacher has been laboring over.

The rebellious child knocks over her mother's patient building.

The rebellious child knocks over her mother's patient building.

"Recession" arrogantly attacks the businessman's block tower.

"Recession" arrogantly attacks the businessman's block tower.

Chance (left with scythe) and Time (with clock) cut short the Vicar's life labor.

Chance (left with scythe) and Time (with clock) cut short the Vicar's life labor.

But all’s well that ends well — as you can find out by reading the script!

Epiphany 7 February 20, 2011

This was one of our periodic “Come with Joy” Sundays. The readings were incorporated into a little skit, which follows. The skit served in lieu of a homily, with the congregation responding with comments afterwards.

Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18

Matthew 5:38-48

Builders of Holy Lives

 

The Lord God enters, dressed in white, and proclaims the reading from Leviticus:

Hear this, my people: You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not gather everything for yourself, but you shall leave something there in the fields for the poor and the alien: I am the LORD your God. You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another: I am the LORD.

You shall not cheat your neighbor and you shall not hold back fair wages for those who work for you. You shall not make fun of the handicapped or make life difficult for those who struggle; you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.

You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD.

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Hear, my people: I give you these blocks that you may follow my commandments and build yourselves lives that are holy, a just and peaceful world for all my people.

The Lord God departs, leaving a box of building blocks. Continue reading ‘Epiphany 7 February 20, 2011’

Epiphany 5 February 6, 2011

This sermon was preached by Bishop Arthur Walmsley. The occasion was “Scout Sunday” and a number of scouts and leaders were present.

Isaiah 58:9b-12

Matthew 6:24-34

Once upon a time, an eleven year old boy thought he had lost his father.  There was a war on, and his dad who was in the army had been sent overseas.  With his mother and a younger brother, he had to move to a distant city know where they crowded into his grandparents’ apartment.  Going to an unfamiliar school was a real challenge; he was a scrawny kid, he was small for his age, he wore glasses, and he quickly became the butt of a gang of bullies which controlled his fifth grade classroom.  Luckily he could run faster than them, and mostly he paid no attention to the bullying.  Except that he was very lonely.

Someone suggested he might find friends at a boy scout troop located in a church up the street from his grandparents’ house.  He swallowed hard and went to a meeting, and to his surprise he found himself hooked.  He joined the troop, the scoutmaster took a real interest in him, and he discovered a world he had not known in the family or in school before then.  He belonged. Continue reading ‘Epiphany 5 February 6, 2011’