'Sabbath keeping isn’t a condition of getting into heaven. It is the condition we will find heaven when we get there.'
I will tell you a secret: I am not keeping Sabbath today. I am at my Diocesan Convention. But I *will* be keeping Sabbath tomorrow. When is your moment of heaven this week?
How often do you hear someone say 'I can worship God in nature' or 'I don't need to be in church to pray'? It is true that God is found anywhere and everywhere. It is also true that worshiping in community, and according to a tradition, helps us to understand our relationship with God, and our connection to all believers.
And it is true that if we don't make that connection clear, others won't know how important it is to be grounded in a faith tradition.
Most people don't spend a great deal of time outdoors, though. They spend most of their time online. Isn't it even more important for us to reach them here with the message of faith? So they can recognize God's voice when they are in nature. And when they are in church.
Real church really happens online, too.
Today we remember Samuel Seabury, the 1st American Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Since we were fighting a revolution against England at the time, those in the English Church in America were left without American oversight - and the line of authority from the earliest church - until Scotland agreed to consecrate a bishop for us.
From Jesus’ hands to his hands to mine, I give thanks for the faith handed down, and the authority of the love of God, unbroken.
Being a Free Range Priest means sometimes I get my supplies on the go!
One way my ministry is creative is that I get my own bread and wine (when taking communion to the sick). Another creative part to my ministry is that I don't get paid a salary by a single church or institution. I work on contract, in person and online, in many ways and places. I am a priest in good standing in the Episcopal Church, but I do not serve in a traditional way.
Sometimes I am conducting worship, sometimes I am teaching or coaching online, sometimes I am speaking or leading retreats. But I am always a priest. In an era when fewer congregations can afford a full-time clergy salary, I am able to serve one vocation, and many people, inside and beyond the church walls.
SO many congregations are concerned about their membership. There aren't the same number of people in the pews. You worry about ministry, about paying the bills, about affording clergy.
'We need to grow.' Behind this statement is often fear that if we don't grow, we are going to die.
I have good news and bad news about this: you probably aren't going to grow. Not significantly. That's the bad news. The good news? It's not your fault. It's not anything you are doing or not doing. It's about the changing times, the changing systems of our day.
More good news: you CAN thrive in ministry, by learning to be the church you are. Not looking at the past, what you used to be. Not becoming what you are not (but looking to the future).
You may not grow in number. You probably won't. But you will grow in bringing Good News to a world that needs it so much.
As I was running this morning, a car veered very close to me - the driver was texting - and I had to jump up on the curb. I may have yelled some un-priestly words as it passed...
And then... A few minutes later, the same car pulled up alongside me and stopped. The man inside said, ‘I owe you an apology. I was wrong to be looking at my phone, and I am sorry I frightened you.’ I was filled with compassion and offered him my full, official forgiveness, and also apologized for my unkind epithet (‘you were well within your rights’, he said). We parted as friends. 🏃🏻♀️ My friends, the world seems so hard right now. We can make it a little softer. We really can.
Feast of Teresa of Avila, who did NOT say ‘Christ has no hands now but ours ...’ just like Francis never said to preach the Gospel without words.
I am always fascinated how these two radical saints get reduced to sound bites (inaccurately) instead of celebrated for who they were - crazy for the love of God.
Blessed are those who are all in.
Feast of Robert Grosseteste, 13th century Bishop. I preached my senior sermon in seminary on him in 1999. ‘Think Different’, borrowing from the Apple billboards in NYC at the time. Hard to believe Steve Jobs has been gone for 7 years.
‘William Tyndale, who was burned at the stake for his translation of the Bible, who provided much of the beautiful language in what is called by us the King James Bible, wrote, he said, in the language a plow-boy could understand.
He wrote to the comprehension of the profoundly poor, those who would be, and would have lived among, the utterly unlettered. And he created one of the undoubted masterpieces of the English language.
Now we seem to feel beauty is an affectation of some sort.’ - Marilynne Robinson
St. Francis never said, ‘preach the Gospel at all times, use words if necessary.’ He preached constantly.
He was preaching to the birds because everyone else was sick of listening!
Preach the Gospel. The world needs words of of love, now more than ever.
Thinking about the Gospel this week and Jesus saying, ‘whoever is not against us is for us.’
I wonder in our current cultural and political climate we don’t tend to hear that the other way: ‘whoever is not for us is against us’.
Is it possible that our brothers and sisters who think differently than we do can be ‘for’ other things, but not ‘against’ us?
Perhaps there are ways to state our own truth without believing the worst in another. 🌈 ‘Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another’. #goodnews