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 firstname.lastname@example.org