Sunday, July 29, 2018

Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, 2018

Lectionary: Judith 9:1,11-14; Psalm 42:1-7; 2 Corinthians 5:14-18; John 20:11-18

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En el nombre del Dios: Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Today we mark our first 5th Sunday Saints Day! How lovely that the first one we celebrate is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene (transferred from July 22).

In the Episcopal Church we celebrate our sisters and brothers who are among the communion of saints. We study their lives, noting their gifts as well as their very human weaknesses, remembering that it was their reception of God’s strength that perfected (that is, completed) their weakness allowing them to press on toward the fulfilling of their divine purpose on earth.

Much as we would ask a friend to pray with us for something, the saints are available to us too, offering their gifts, spiritual companionship, and prayerful support in moments of our lives where we need that.

For example, if we feel the need to deepen our relationship with Jesus, we might ask Mary of Bethany to share her gift of choosing to sit at the feet of the Master over the other tasks/duties of life that distract us.

Or we may ask Thomas to pray with us as we move through the moments of doubt that are part of every journey of faith.

Persons through whom sacred poetry seeks to emerge may call upon Caedmon, T.S. Eliot, or John Donne for their inspiration and poetic skill.

Today, we remember and ponder the life and gifts of Mary Magdalene, whose story is one of healing, courage, perseverance, and ultimately – of faithful witness.

A little background first: aside from the Biblical record that Jesus healed her of seven demons (a word which as a radically differnt meaning today), we don’t know much about Mary Magdalene. We do notice, however, as Heidi Schlumpf points out: that “Unlike other women in the Bible, Mary of Madgala is not identified in relation to another person; she is not anyone’s mother, wife, or sister. Instead, she is called Mary of Magdala, a title that implies some prominence...” i.

Here’s what we do know: Mary Magdalene left her home, a fishing city on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, to follow Jesus, whose ministry she financially supported. (Mk 15:41)

We know that she is mentioned by name 12 times in the Gospels, more than any other woman except for Jesus’ mother. We know that all four gospels tell us Mary Magdalene was present at Jesus’ crucifixion and burial; and was the first witness of the resurrection.

We know that scripture shows us a woman who was a devoted follower and supporter of Jesus, a woman who believed when she saw the impossible reality of the resurrection, a woman who courageously obeyed Jesus who sent her to tell the men about it - fully aware that as a woman, her testimony would be considered unreliable according to their law.

As scripture scholar, Mary Thompson, SSMN says, it’s “remarkable that all four gospels have the same story. ‘You can be sure that if it had been possible to eliminate those women…[as] the primary witnesses to the most important event of Christianity… the [gospel writers] would have done it,’ because of the prevailing attitude toward women in those times.” ii.

Well, over time the church did the next best thing – they defamed her. It was Pope Gregory, at the end of the 6th century, who preached that Mary Magdalene, the unnamed sinner who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and the woman caught in adultery whose stoning Jesus forestalled, were not three different women, but one and the same person. “From this conflation, now rejected by scholars as well as the church, there came about the popular representation of Mary Magdalene as a penitent… prostitute.”iii.

I should mention that this was true only in the Western Church. “The Eastern Church has always honored her as an apostle, noting her as the ‘apostle to the apostles’ based on the account of the Gospel of John” iv. which we read today.

It wasn’t until 1969 that the Catholic Church acknowledged that Pope Gregory was wrong. That means for about 1400 years, Mary Magdalene, the faithful follower of Jesus, the apostle to the apostles, was categorically slandered as a prostitute. That she was also described as penitent does not mitigate this denigration of her.

Yet the healing Jesus began when he freed her from the grip of seven demons continues to this day, still restoring Mary Magdalene’s reputation and her rightful place of honor in the Christian community.

The Church is now sharing the evidence found in a variety of ancient texts which shows “that [Mary Magdalene’s] status as an ‘apostle,’ in the years after Jesus’ death, rivaled even that of Peter.” v.

That’s how healing works. We know from the many stories of Jesus’ healings in Scripture, that whenever Jesus heals, he restores a person to wholeness of life.

For example, the lepers whom Jesus cleansed, were able to return immediately to their families and live in the communities from which they had been exiled due to their disease. Restoration took a bit longer for Mary Magdalene.

That’s the other thing about healing – it is for us, but not just for us. When we have been restored in body, mind, or spirit, we come away with a new awareness of God’s powerful love and mercy, and that is what we are called to share with others.

When Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb and finds it empty, she cries. But in the most unexpected way, her tears are turned to joy as she hears her teacher and friend, call her by name. Suddenly there is nothing present but transforming love.

We don’t know how long they stayed together in that moment, but we do know that at some point Jesus tells Mary to go and tell the others, that they might be transformed too.

Mary doesn’t stop to ask Jesus to explain how he did it – she doesn’t ask to understand at all. She simply responds to the love of Christ that fills her and urges her on, and so she goes to tell the others, taking with her an unexpectedly new awareness of God’s reconciling love in Jesus. That which she had once known from a human point of view, Jesus her Rabboni, has been transformed, and because of that everything has become new (2 Cor 5:17).

When someone has been beaten down by the demons of fear, loneliness, or depression; when they have been oppressed by poverty, marginalization, or violence; when they have been forsaken by friends and family, it is as if they are living in exile – cut off from the reconciliation Jesus died and rose to give us all. And the longer someone lives in exile, the more their hope and sense of self-worth dwindle away.

It is to these beloved, thirsting ones that God sends us as witnesses, because as we hear in the book of Judith, God is the God of the lowly, the helper of the oppressed, protector of the forsaken, and the savior of those without hope. (Jud 9:11)

Faithful witnessing, like Mary Magdalene did, means carrying the life-giving waters of Baptism out to those who are athirst for the living God. (Ps 42:2) It means trusting God and God alone to judge them. It means inviting them into relationship just as they are and trusting God to take them and us where we need to go. Faithful witnessing means proclaiming by all we say and do the Good News of our redemption in God in Christ.

History did not treat Mary Magdalene well as a witness, and may not treat us well either – for a while anyway – but that isn’t what matters. What matters is that Mary loved Jesus so deeply that she was open to receive his Holy Spirit by which she was healed, forgiven, and renewed, then sent into the world to tell the Good News of his resurrection. Hers was truly a faithful witness and we are all beneficiaries of that.

As we seek to strengthen ourselves to be faithful witnesses, individually and as a church; as we seek to connect to our local community and serve the needs God leads us to there, we can count among our assets the friendship and availability of St. Mary Magdalene to support us.

All of heaven wants us to succeed. How wonderful to be so abundantly supported! Amen.

i. US Catholic, Who Framed Mary Magdalene? (Vol. 65, No. 4, pages 12-16), April, 2000
ii. ibid.
iii. Robert Ellsberg, All Saints, Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for our Time (The Crossroad Publishing Co., NY, 2002), 312.
iv. Bible History Daily, Was Mary Magdalene Wife of Jesus? Was Mary Magdalene a Prostitute? How did her reputation evolve “from saint to sinner”?, Birger A Pearson, 03/17/2018.
v. Smithsonian Magazine, Who Was Mary Magdalene?, James Carroll, June, 2006.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Pentecost 9B, 2018: Children's sermon on being apostles today

We, at St. David's, dedicate the sermon on the fourth Sunday of each month to the children. This week we discussed what it means to be an apostle sent by Jesus into the world and why Jesus sends us. We discuss Jesus' mother, Mary, as "theotokos" (God bearer) and how we are theotokos, God bearers today. We find our apostleship grounded in our Baptism, and our preparation for it marked by our Confirmation.

Lectionary: 2 Samuel 7:1-14a; Psalm 89:20-37; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

There is no written text for this sermon as it is a conversation with the children. The icon of Mary as theotokos we discussed is pictured here. It was written by me and it is called "The First Communion"© (please seek permission to reproduce this image)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pentecost 8B, 2018: Disturb us, Lord, with truth

Proper 10 Lectionary: 2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

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En el nombre del Dios, Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

COLLECT: O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them…

This prayer is linked with a lectionary that ties Old Testament and New Testament prophets into one unifying story. And I have to tell you, I love the stories of the prophets in Scripture! To me the prophets are like artists, painting doorways to the truth with the brushstrokes of their prophecies. Like other forms of art, it often takes some education to fully appreciate their work; and many never do, because their work is revelatory of truth the world often doesn’t want to know.

In today’s gospel, Mark tells us that King Herod is aware of Jesus’ reputation and believes he is the prophet, John the Baptist, raised to life again somehow. Then the gospel writer offers us a flashback on why this bothers Herod.

The story of Herod’s murder of John the Baptist, which falls in the midst of the stories of the successful mission work of the disciples, is all about John having the grace and power to do what he was meant to do and the system of power which responds like a bully, using its power and privilege to squelch the truth and have its own way.

This story also demonstrates so well that earthly power and privilege are illusions; and when the illusion fails, you realize that you are left with nothing, as Herod did when he was removed ignominiously from power and exiled into oblivion shortly after he helped murder Jesus. All the luxuries, the power and wealth, the success, and the membership in their elite circles, which had seemed so supremely important, ultimately led them to desolation of life and spirit.

But God, who loves us with steadfast love, knows that these things are to humans like pills are to an addict. They are a lie and they lead us to death. They trick us into believing that we are satisfied and happy even as they destroy our relationships with God and one another.

They cause us to lose sight of the suffering of our needy sisters and brothers –those who are hungry, homeless, abused, infirm, and alone – because we are too focused on ourselves and what we think we need/want/deserve. They also lead us into error, tricking us into believing that we are the source of our success, our wealth, and our happiness; and therefore, that we have earned all we enjoy.

Detaching from these things, which we must do, is a lot like detoxing from an addiction – it’s painful at first. The body and mind fight against it. We cling to the lie which is preferable to the truth that is coming into view –the truth that in their absence, all that’s left is emptiness, nothingness. It feels like desolation. And, in fact, it is desolation, blessed desolation: complete emptiness, the utter destruction of a false reality we had constructed for ourselves.

It is only in that complete emptiness, in the stark, cold, darkness of the tomb, that the people of God (then and now) stripped of our illusions of power and self sufficiency, can discover what is truly important – what is true at all – that we live because of God’s loving choice, and that we live this life most fully in the unifying presence of God.

God’s unifying love is so powerful that even the Herods and Herodiases of the world are unified to us within it. As the author of the epistle to the Ephesians says the plan of God was “set forth in Christ… a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him… in heaven and… on earth.”

This is not just New Testament thinking. This is as it has always been, as the psalmist confirms: “The earth is the Lord’s and all that it in it, the world and all who dwell therein.” (24:1) All things, all people are created of God and made one in God’s love.

The plan of God set forth in Christ, to gather up all things in Christ, helps us to remember that if we do anything good it’s because the grace of God has been lavished upon us, compelling us to do our part in Christ’s continuing work of the redemption of the world.

If we do anything good, it’s because the Spirit of God lives in us and touches the world through our grateful hearts and willing hands. If we do anything good, it’s because we have “heard the word of truth,” believed it, and surrendered ourselves and our lives to it. Therefore, we will discern carefully together what we ought to do, what God is calling us to do right now, and we will do it, no matter the cost.

Lots of people think they know God’s truth. People have fought wars over this throughout human history… still do. But we can only know God’s truth by surrendering to the Spirit in prayer. When we do that, we realize God’s truth is quite different from the truth that had been motivating us.

Then we live that truth – God’s truth. Like John the Baptist, we’ll keep telling our Herods that what they are doing isn’t lawful. Sometimes it works and the Herods of the world repent. I think of the recent change in the government’s approach to the separated immigrant families.

Which brings up another point important for followers of Christ to remember: when enough voices gather to speak the truth, the holders of earthly power can be persuaded – at least sometimes – and so it’s always worth the try.

This was affirmed in our own recently concluded General Convention. For example, ahead of this convention, people in the church were asked to send in their stories of sexual harassment and exploitation by persons in the church.

According to an article by the Episcopal News Service: “The special committee, sometimes dubbed the “MeToo Committee,” proposed more than two dozen resolutions…” to convention, including:

• D016 creates a Task Force on Women, Truth and Reconciliation to help the church “engage in truth-telling, confession, and reconciliation…”
• D021 removes from the materials that clergy file with the Office of Transition Ministry any reference to gender or current compensation, since statistics show women in the church are paid less than men of comparable experience….
• D046 continues reauthorizing the expansive-language rites in the Enriching Our Worship series and calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to create principles to use in developing additional expansive-language liturgical texts.
• D067 encourages the use of inclusive and expansive language for God and humanity…

A side note: while the road may have seemed a bit lonely these last decades, it is clear, yet again, that St. David’s has demonstrated grace and power to live the truth it knows on this issue, and now the church is catching up. Good job!

Other resolutions to note in this regard:

• A178 calls for a halt to inhumane and unjust immigration policies that are harmful to migrant women, parents and children.
• D017 calls for policies that reduce sexual harassment, assault and exploitation in the workplace.
• D031 encourages clergy and congregations to educate themselves on resources to combat and deal with domestic violence.
• D032 advocates for equal access to quality health care regardless of gender.

We are the prophets of truth today - God’s truth, not a truth of our own devising – and no matter how the parties of power (even in churches) may work to stop or punish us, we must keep serving God and neighbor by speaking and living God’s truth. It’s a risk worth taking… like John the Baptist did… like Jesus did.

I close with a prayer from Sir Francis Drake:

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pentecost 7B, 2018: Empowered, encouraged, and entrusted to serve

Lectionary: 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10, Psalm 48, 2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13

En el nombre del Dios: Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

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In our Collect today we prayed: “O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection… (BCP, 230)

This brings two things to my mind: the vestry retreat we had Friday and yesterday, and the news from our General Convention happening in Austin, TX.

At our vestry retreat, I witnessed and experienced pure affection for one another and for each one God has led to be at St. David’s in this moment of our corporate history. I also witnessed and experienced a devotion to God among the vestry which carried us through those moments when we were necessarily in what we called the “groan zone,” the space between divergence, through emergence, into convergence.

It’s the experience of “going blank,” where our thoughts and ideas escape us and we have to wait together in the discomfort of that self-emptying until the Holy Spirit fills us with inspiration and insight – which happened reliably for us.

I contrast that with my experience of catching up on the news from General Convention. I read the articles from Episcopal News service as well as the posts from our diocesan deputies and our bishop on Facebook and Twitter.

I’m always fascinated by the machinations of our institutional system. Some of it I find ridiculous, like being trapped in procedures that make it so complicated to accomplish a simple, straightforward, uncontested act like formally including the Diocese of Cuba into The Episcopal Church now that we can.

Some of it I find soul-killing, like reading the comments from Episcopalians on contested issues such as the Prayer Book revision which passed the House of Deputies, by the way, and awaits the vote of the House of Bishops.

The modern practice of rudeness, disrespect, and arrogance in conversation has infected our church and we publicly embarrass ourselves when we behave that way. Worse than that, we betray our mission to “love and serve…as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” (BCP, 366)

This is probably similar to what Jesus experienced when we returned to Nazareth after conducting his ministry in the surrounding areas where he preached with wisdom and authority and accomplished astounding works like those we discussed last week: healing the bleeding woman and raising the dead child back to life.

Jesus’ reputation had already spread far and wide and his home-town people knew of it. Yet, as he came among them, he too confronted rudeness, disrespect, and arrogance. Who does he think he is? they asked. Where does he get such wisdom and power? Isn’t he Mary’s son, the carpenter?

Please let me point out the subtle insult contained in Mark’s telling of this story. In Jesus’ time, people were identified by their paternal lineage. This public reference to Jesus as Mary’s son, instead of Joseph’s son, subtly questions the legitimacy of his birth, dredging up the scandal of the Christmas story – pregnant, unmarried Mary and her devoted fiancĂ© Joseph, who, everyone knew, hadn’t fathered her child.

I wonder, however, why people continue to do this? Does discrediting or disrespecting Jesus have any impact on the wisdom of his preaching and the power of his ministry? Does it change, for example, the fact that he raised a dead child to life?

No. Then what is the purpose?

My guess is it’s a shield against their fear that they might have to change their understanding of themselves, God, and how God is calling to them to live.

Jesus brought them amazing gifts and they simply refused to receive them. They refused to change. So he responds by lamenting their disbelief and turning his attention and his ministry in a different direction, going out about the villages teaching.

He didn’t force them, or argue with them, or appease them. He just went on without them.

Churches need to heed to this lesson.

Then, Mark tells us, Jesus chose this moment to move his ministry from one he did himself to a corporate mission, serving together with his disciples.

Mark shows us that empowered his disciples, giving them authority over unclean spirits, that is, anything that inhibits a person from a transforming encounter with God. Jesus encouraged the twelve to serve, trusting in God with their whole hearts and leaving behind earthly security represented by supplies and extra clothing. Then Jesus entrusted them to do their ministry on their own – out there.

Mark tells us that the disciples went out, proclaiming repentance, that is, the need for people to change their thinking and understanding, and their way of being in community with one another and the world.

They also anointed many who were sick with oil and restored them to wholeness. As a result, the disciples witnessed the power of God working through them in extraordinary ways.

This is what happens when we are empowered by Jesus to serve, encouraged by him to trust the gifts God has given us and their purpose, and entrusted by him to accomplish our unique ministry in the world.

This was the basic message of our vestry retreat and it represents our first steps together into the new life God is offering to St. David’s. I pray we receive the gifts Jesus is offering us and respond with the devotion of our whole hearts and a unity of pure affection for one another.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Pentecost 6B, 2018: It's time to get on with it

Lectionary: 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43\

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En el nombre del Dios, Padre, Hijo, y Espiritu Santo. Amen.

Last week our gospel lifted up for us the very human experience of faith in the face of turmoil. The story of the storm and Jesus asleep in the boat illustrates what it feels like when there is a storm swirling all around us and God seems to be asleep, or worse, doesn’t care enough to act to save us when we are perishing.

This week’s gospel answers that concern again – in a huge way.Through the twin healings of Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the hemorrhage we see that God does care and the scope of God’s care is broad.

In the first healing story, a respected leader at the synagogue comes to Jesus seeking healing for his little girl who is dying. Jesus’ reputation is widespread by now and throngs of people follow him wherever he goes. While this eventually will bring the Jewish leadership to conspire against him, for now, he is being left alone in his ministry.

Jairus believed that Jesus could heal his daughter, so despite the potential risk to his standing in the synagogue, publicly asks him to do so. Most parents understand this kind of risk-taking. We would give up anything, everything, for the sake of our children.

Jesus agrees and as they head to Jairus’ house, a crowd begins to form around them. Among them was a woman who had been bleeding (as only women can bleed) for 12 years.

I want to pause here and note that when numbers are present in the Bible, they are symbolic. In biblical language the number 12 represents the people of Israel, the twelve tribes. Notice that in both of these stories the number 12 is specifically noted. The evangelist points out that the woman has been bleeding for 12 years, and that Jairus’ daughter is 12 years old.

The woman in this story symbolizes the nation of Israel, which was occupied by the Romans. Like the woman, Israel was very low on the ladder of worldly power. She was losing the very essence of her life – her blood – and no one on earth could help her. In fact, they were making it worse. How long could she bleed before she bled out and died?

Jairus’ daughter, the offspring of a church leader, represents the future of the synagogue (or in our modern experience, the church). Will the church survive this threat it faces? Will this church live?

While the gospel last week addressed this same question, ‘Will we live?’ from the point of view of Jesus’ followers, this week’s gospel asks this question from the point of view of the church and from the people of God as a whole.

In all of the stories, God’s answer is the same: believe. Have faith in God no matter the turmoil of the moment. Reach out to Jesus and watch as the redemption happens.

Two millennia later we can look back at the world of Jesus’ time, recognizing the threats against them, and know they did survive as individuals and as communities of faith. If we know our history, we know that turmoil isn’t new to the people of God or the church, and yet, here we are – people and communities of faith, alive and divinely supported in a world where turmoil continues to swirl around us.

This is the truth of our living in the “already but not yet” – the time between the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and his coming again. What sets this time apart is that Jesus has already redeemed us and knit us into one body. Now we, as his followers, are commanded to share this Good News with the world until all believe and we can live as one body, one people in God.

The world is and always has been a difficult place. As followers of Jesus and as a community of faith, we have Good News to share and the privilege and responsibility to share it by our words and our actions.

The world is desperate for the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. Just listen to the news. Lately, I have been noticing a real sense of hopelessness building, even among people I know to be people of strong faith.

Like the disciples in the boat, they are beginning to wonder if God is asleep, or cares enough to calm the chaos around them. Like the bleeding woman and the seemingly dead child, Jesus is enough to restore them to life.

So to all who are feeing afraid or tired or despairing for any reason, I remind you of the faith of the bleeding woman who knew that if she reached out and touched even the hem of his cloak she would be made whole.

I remind you of Jesus’ response in all of these stories: “Your faith has made you whole.” Now, get a bite to eat – or, in other words, life goes on. Get on with it knowing I am here with you and I care.

I share a Tweet from civil rights leader and GA Representative John Lewis sent last week: “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year. It is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has been singing a similar song to Episcopalians saying we need to get busy “committing to making a practical, tangible difference… helping the world look more like God’s dream and less like our nightmare… It’s sacred work” he said.

To do that, he recommends we make these five things a priority:

1) Formation: What are we actually doing to form ourselves as Christians?

2) Evangelism: that “E –word” Episcopalians cherish. ++Michael suggests that we practice a kind of evangelism “that is as much listening as sharing…an invitation, a welcome” to the church where persons can discover and develop a relationship with God and one another.

3) Witnessing: ++Michael says we need to “get out in the public sphere [and] be a voice for those who have no voice.” That’s our witness.

4) Relationship: ++Michael points to ecumenical relationships – all faiths participating together in ways that bring about God’s dream; he also talks about relationships within the worldwide Anglican Communion. I would add that this also includes our relationships within our particular church and within our diocese.

5) ++Michael says we need to create structures that serve our mission; institutional structures that help the church be “vessels of the Jesus movement.” (Source: The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry on Vimeo)

This also agrees with what we heard in the 2nd letter to the Corinthians, where St. Paul encourages churches to get on living joyfully and earnestly into their divine purpose, establishing as Paul says “…a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance.”

Paul is reminding us that we are called to participate in making a tangible difference in our world by:
1) sharing from the abundance our privilege affords us;
2) and by receiving the gifts of those outside of earthly privilege.

In this way, we bring about a fair balance. It’s all about fostering inclusive relationship. We who are accepted according to societal preferences of skin color, gender, sexuality and sexual identity, educational or economic standing are called to build bridges of friendship and inclusion with those who are marginalized – as Jesus did.

We who have financial means are called to share with those who don’t. For those of us in a faith community, we are called to take up our responsibility to financially support our church’s mission so that our church can be a vessel of the Jesus movement. That is the purpose of our pledging.

St. David’s has gifts to offer a hungry, hopeless world: kindness, inclusion, and connection. This community knows how to build family-like relationships and there is no turmoil that can threaten that – if we believe. St. David’s also has a long history of evangelism – the kind that invites and welcomes all people into relationship with God.

Now it’s time to build the structures that will enable St. David’s to share our gifts out there - in the public sphere as ourPresiding Bishop Michael said. Later this week your vestry will be in retreat listening to the Spirit and building the foundations of the journey ahead; the structures that will serve our mission and enable St David’s to be a vessel of the Jesus movement. Pray for them and for Martin and me as we midwife this new life.

We have the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the world. The time has come to get on with it.