Saturday, December 17, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
God Is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. ~1 John 4
Saturday, December 10, 2011
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
It seems appropriate from time to time, to stop and remember that in the hubbub of life, opinion, politics, the struggle/battle for survival; there is this very simple human impulse to pray.
As we begin this new year, let us dedicate ourselves once again in our service to God and all God's people. (Originally I composed this prayer on St. Francis Day of 2011).
Monday, December 05, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011
You know we're doing something right when the police use pepper spray on an 84 year old woman as pictured left, or on students lined up, unarmed and non violent, as we've seen a hundred times on TV.
These are the Powers and The Principalities: those whose power in in their billions and trillions. They line up the defenseless and the powerless and attack us with high tech torture to quell the human spirit.
But it only serves to propel us on in our struggle. The ringing words of scripture come to mind from the beginnings of the Christian Experience when the Empire that we confronted was the Roman Empire. The Empire we now confront is the Oligarchy of the American Experience.
Only thirty years ago there was an 80/20 split between the Oligarchs and the Middle/Working Class. That split is now 92/8 as a percentage. The "trickle down" promise made by Ronald Reagan, was a lie. The wealth is "trickling up".
This is why we have taken to the streets; to contend against the powers and the principalities until All Americans are working at a decent wage.
To the Streets!
Here is one of my favorite passages. Please note the section in bold.
The Whole Armour of God
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak. ~Ephesians 6
God bless us one and all,
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
The problem of Good is as real as the problem of Evil. The first extant document we have of the early church is "The Didache" or "The Teachings". In it is the notion that the pathway to Death and the pathway to Life are always before us. This is true at every level of life it seems to me, personal social and historical. To be sure, large institutions like Nations and Churches have merits. But they also have stains that blot out any hope of seeing redemptive value in what they are. But there is this thought. If we say we believe in Democracy, then of necessity we must have politicians and government. If we say we believe in Justice, it follows then, that lawyers and courts become an inevitable necessity. And if we say we believe in God, then clergy and churches become yet another inevitability. Seen from this view, there is plenty of sin to go around. But there is also beaucoup redemption. The fundamental question for us is which will we choose; the pathway that leads to life or the pathway that leads to death. A ponderous question for each of us to ponder because I believe God is calling each of us to step up to the plate. Apathy only guarantees that someone worse than ourselves will take power.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
From Oakland to New York and around America, the crackdown has begun. Democracy; government of the people, for the people and by the people has been successfully claimed by government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich.
Had this happened in Tiananmen Square, Cairo, Libya, or Syria, we would be hearing loud and sanctimonious words decrying gross abuses of "Human Rights"!
Not so when it happens in our own back yard. Thankfully, this will only serve to spur on the demonstrations. American are waking from slumber. It is now clear that the police are merely acting at the behest of the Plutocrats who pull the economic purse strings.
What threatens them is the idea that we want a bail out too. Except we’re willing to work for it. They just wanted the money to dress their portfolios. They are robbing us of our money, our jobs, and our homes, and we want them all back.
This next Sunday is the Feast Day of Christ the King. The Gospel reading for the day is well worth reading. In it The Son of Man summons the all the nations before him and separates the sheep from the goats. The sheep are invited into the kingdom with the these ringing words; “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
Of course, the righteous wonder when they did these things to Jesus. And of course the answer is; "Insofar as you have done it to one of the lease of these, you have done it to me."
The goats are then driven away into a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, because when they saw human suffering, they turned away, did nothing, and treated the “least of these” shamefully.
The question I have is this; Is America in danger of failure as a civilization? If we insist on turning our backs away from the least of these, we incur the wrath of Jesus and the long arc of history will bend toward another civilization willing to treat her poor in a kinder and gentler way.
In the meantime, I have news for Mayor Bloomberg and his minions around the country. We are not going away. We will be back in the streets, today, tomorrow and the next day. Take heart my fellow Occupiers; back to the streets!!!
We want jobs! We want justice!
I so admire the courage of these people!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
The Rich Man
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
"Feed My Sheep"
Jesus and Peter
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.
Pretty straight forward. Hey "Rocky, Feed my sheep!" (In Aramaic, Spanish, French, Greek etc Peter=Rocky) I love my iMacPro and iPhone as much as any priestly geek out there. And the death of Steve Jobs was a profound loss for someone who appreciates such brilliance. But the starvation of millions! Has anybody noticed? And nearer to home, the unemployed millions! Has anybody noticed? We are beginning to waken from slumber. Our occupation of Wall Street/Boston and Main Street is an attempt to put America on notice. We can do better than this.
We are the wealthiest nation on earth. Can we not "Feed God's Sheep"? Can we not put Americans to work? Or is it only Wall Street, Banks and GM that we want to save? Are we really a government of the 1%, for the 1% and by the 1%?
You and I can so something. We can give to Oxfam, or in the case of my own church we can give to Episcopal Relief and Development. Some have noticed, but only some and far too few. Millions are starving and the message is as old as Jesus' words to Rocky; "Feed my Sheep"!
AND we can take to the streets!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
One day, Jesus found himself up against a bunch of Pharisees, that's the Evangelical Right wing of the New Testament. They also tried to mess up Moses long before this by making a Golden Calf, but more about that another time. These Pharisees gave Jesus a coin and, to set him up, said: "Is it lawful to pay your taxes or not?" They thought they had him dead to rights on this one. After all, if Jesus said it was lawful to pay taxes, he would be putting his followers in a pickle because they were seeking to build a kingdom, not of this world. But, if he said it was not lawful to pay taxes, he would get himself arrested and that would effectively put him out of the way, which was the Fox Network wanted anyway. After all, Jesus had this thing for poor people, outcasts, prisoners, foreigners, eunuchs, etc. In other words Jesus put people first in all his teachings, particularly those people the Right Wing didn't particularly like.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Sunday, October 09, 2011
According to the Gospel passage for today, a King gave a great banquet for his son's wedding, but the invited guests refused to come. So the King compelled his servants to go out into the streets and compel the poor, the halt, and the lame to come and fill his banquet hall.
Come to the banquet, all you poor, unemployed, homeless, you persecuted lesbigay folk, Come to the banquet! Come in out of the cold and feast at God's Banquet table!
All you who Occupy Wall Street and Main street, your time has come. The poor will be filled and the rich will be sent away empty. Just the way Mary said in her great song.
The Gospel economics cry out for justice, from Jeremiah to Jesus, you are the Blessed ones of God.
Read this again and remember who Jesus really is. By the way, you may not hear these words from the right wing but they are what the Biblical scholars call; "The Christian Manifesto". Pour yourselves into the streets and take heart; you are invited to the Banquet of God!
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.