by the Reverend Kevin McGrane
Deacon Kevin delivered this sermon on November 8, 2020.
As many of you may know, there was a political election last Tuesday. If you didn’t know that, well, it’s too late to vote.
I have been following the news regarding the election results, as well as the thoughts and opinions of many of my family and friends on social media, and I see a couple of overarching themes among them.
Most people are disappointed in the results, whether their chosen candidates or propositions won or lost. You would think that, if someone’s candidate or proposition won, they’d be happy...but lots of folks aren’t. They seem to be just as disappointed as the person whose candidate or prop lost the election.
It seems like they can’t be happy about the results because they did not get something else that they were hoping for, perhaps even more than winning. And that is the satisfaction of repudiation.
by The Reverend Dr. Warren Crews
For the last three Sundays we have been listening to parables from the 25th chapter of Matthew, dealing with the theme of judgment. Three weeks ago, we had the Parable of the Five Wise and Five Foolish Virgins, who responded differently when the bridegroom finally arrived. Last week it was the Parable of the Talents. Three slaves of a very rich man are left with great sums of their master’s money. They were judged on how they handled his money, which differed greatly. In today’s gospel, which you just heard, is the famous Parable of the Great Judgment, better known as the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. On Judgment Day the judge, who is Christ returned, will separate all the people of all the nations into two groups, just as a shepherd separates his flock into sheep and goats. The criteria for the separation are a set of actions: feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty a drink, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, and visiting those in prison. Those who did those things are rewarded with eternal life, and those who didn’t are condemned to the fires of Hell.
During our Sunday meeting, the Vestry discussed (belatedly, but still) the lack of a means to post information for the congregation now that we're still not in our building. Our answer? A virtual "bulletin board" here on our blog. From here on out, once we approve minutes, we'll post them here, and announce that they're posted in the eblast.
On Sunday, November 22, we approved the minutes for our meetings in September and October. Click the links below for PDF documents containing those minutes.
Questions? Email Jeff: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. John’s continues to work with Winter Outreach, a volunteer organization that provides emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Through this ministry we strive to live out our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
The COVID pandemic has required Winter Outreach to adjust their procedures to provide shelters with larger spaces and more ability to keep guests socially distant. Winter Outreach has also worked with infectious disease specialists to develop procedures that protect the health of both volunteers and guests, including PPE requirements.
This season St. John's is teaming up with Christ Church Cathedral to staff an emergency shelter at St. Paul’s UCC (3510 Giles) on Monday nights when the temperature drops below 20° or 25° with precipitation. The combined effort of our congregations will leverage the much needed resources to implement the shelter.
By the Reverend Dr. Warren Crews
Editor's note: Father Warren gave this sermon on October 18; we're just now getting it published. We're grateful for your patience!
Our gospel lesson contains a dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees about paying Roman taxes. It includes Jesus’ often quoted saying: “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s”. For two thousand years Christians have been debating what it means. Where do we place the dividing line? A rabbi once suggested to me an interesting new possibility that I want to share with you.
By the Reverend Sally S. Weaver
Editor's note: Pastor Sally gave this sermon on October 11; we're just now getting it published. We're grateful for your patience!
Some years ago I attended a clergy conference in which the speakers were pastoral counselors and therapists from Care and Counseling. A key learning from that conference was "structure binds anxiety." By this, the experts mean that when people are anxious to the verge of panic, establishing routines and disciplines significantly lowers anxiety levels.
In today’s Old Testament reading, the Hebrew people are extremely anxious. They have left behind their old routines and structures. Sure, they were slaves in Egypt. But at least they knew what to expect; they knew what each day would bring and how they might cope. Since Moses led them out of Egypt, they’ve lived each day understandably anxious about survival in the desert: Would they wander in this wilderness forever? Where would they find sufficient food and water?
Yes, God had provided for them through the agency of their leader Moses. But now Moses is gone. What seems to the Hebrews like ages ago, Moses entered the cloud surrounding Mt. Sinai and disappeared. Moses’ return is long overdue. “As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,” they say, “we do not know what has become of him.” The Hebrew people are anxious.
Forward Day by Day is a daily devotional offered by Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church. To learn more about their ministry and resources, visit www.forwardmovement.org.
Various members of the St. John's congregation contribute to this blog. For editorial suggestions, contact Jeff McIntire-Strasburg at email@example.com