Monthly Archives: September 2013

Living the Life

Originally written for the St. Peter’s E-Net sent out on September 27. 

Some scholars believe that the passage we will hear on Sunday from First Timothy comes from Timothy’s baptism.  There is something really wonderful about hearing this call as we are wrestling with a series of very challenging Gospel readings.  Readings that leave us shaking our heads and wondering what in the world is Jesus talking about.

Part of Timothy’s call at his baptism is to call on each person in his own community and remind them of their own call to be witnesses of God.  Today, as we read this passage, Timothy’s call extends to each one of us.  Through it we are reminded that we have been marked as Christ’s own forever: that we been called to “take hold of the eternal life, to which [we] were called.”  So what kind of life has our own baptism called us to?  Like Timothy, we are to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.”  We are called to lives of relationship with one another and with God.  We are called – as we heard preached last Sunday – to choose relationship over fear; to choose love over fear; to choose life over fear.

As I reflect on this lesson from Timothy, and our call as Christians, I can’t help but be reminded of our Eucharistic celebrations each and every Sunday.  We gather week by week to be strengthened go out and live the lives to which we have been called.  In high school, I learned the phrase “We bring our lives to the liturgy and the liturgy to our lives.”  This is a phrase that I will never forget, and for me it speaks powerfully to our call as Baptized people.  We come week by week to be strengthened by work and sacrament: to join with Angels and Archangels and all the company of heaven in proclaim and praising the greatness of God.  Then we go forth, sent out into the world, to live lives of “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, [and] gentleness.”  We follow in the example of Timothy to be witnesses and prophets in our own day and bring those around us to recognize and receive God’s grace working in their lives.

I hope you will all join us Sunday in our praise and worship of God.  We’ve got a lot of work to do in building up the kingdom of God.  Come be fed, share in community, and give thanks for the grace of God in your life.

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First Day of School Drive

Originally written for the St. Peter’s E-Net sent out September 1, 2013.  

Every morning I begin my day with prayer.  Part of that time includes reflecting on Brother, Give Us a Word a daily offering from the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Today’s word is offering.  Bother David Vryhof writes the following about offering: “The problems that surround us will always be overwhelming, our resources will always be  insufficient, but God tells us to offer them anyway.  Do what you can  do; give what you  can give – even if it seems ridiculously insufficient.” This year, we decided to provide a new offering for our Community Market families – The First Day of School Drive.

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Going back to school can be a complicated emotional experience.  There is the joy of seeing friends, and the excitement of a new year.  There is also a myriad of more complicated emotions; sadness that the summer is over, the nervousness of being accepted, etc.  For a growing number of kids in our neighborhood, there is yet another challenge for going back to school – not being able to afford the supplies a student needs to succeed.

As the registration forms came in, I became more and more nervous about the number of kids who needed supplies: ten, twenty, thirty, forty kids!  That is a lot of backpacks, notebooks, folders, and glue sticks.

With donations from the congregation and shopping done by our volunteers we were able to get all the supplies 1185812_583765275014192_522333686_nneeded for all forty kids from the Community Market.  A fabulous group of volunteers gathered yesterday to fill these backpacks with all the supplies these kids will need; and today parents and kids will come and pick them up.

It is easy for us to think that our efforts are not even beginning to make a dent in the needs of the community, or that maybe we should not even bother because we cannot end the need.  Now more than ever, it is important that we keep doing whatever we can no matter how ridiculously insufficient it may seem.  Here is why: Yesterday afternoon, a mother with her two children came by to pick up their backpacks.  The mother was so incredibly grateful that we could help provide what she is not able to.  But, the best part was the reaction of her two kids.  As her daughter opened her bag she shouted, “Look at all the cool stuff I got!” Her brother was just as excited that his bag was cooler than any bag he has ever had.

It is an amazing gift to be part of this experience for these families, to see that joy and excitement on the kids faces, and the sincere thanks and gratitude from the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  No matter how little we think we are doing, we are make an amazing difference in the lives of those in our community.  As Br. David reminds us that we are called to, “Do what you can do; give what you can give – even if it seems ridiculously insufficient.”

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