Friday, September 08 2023
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, *
and I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; *
I shall keep it with all my heart.
Make me go in the path of your commandments, *
for that is my desire.
Incline my heart to your decrees *
and not to unjust gain.
Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless; *
give me life in your ways. (Psalm 119:33-37)
I would like to give a special thank you to our Wardens, Patti and Sean, to our vestry, to Fr. Daniel Ade and Alex, to Coral, to Deacon Claire and Deacon Zack, to John, Jenni and Chris and all those who helped with the floors, to our teachers in the Nursery school, and to all those who helped and supported the kitchen remodel. I invite our entire congregation to service this Sunday, to see the new, remodeled kitchen and floors, and to the Parish Picnic on September 17th. September is a homecoming for many of us, as we return back to the practice of listening to the Word of God at St. John’s.
During my sabbatical this summer, I wrote about my great-grandmother in a book that will be titled, “Restless Heart.” The book is about the life of one strong, independent, indigenous woman. I include some of the stories that she gave me that reveal what it was like to be an orphan on the reservation in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I am amazed that she named a musical society that is still active over a hundred years later in Tulsa, that she was a music composer from New York to Paris, that she knew President Teddy Roosevelt, that she helped found a mission school that later became Tulsa University, that she was number one on the Dawes roll of all indigenous people in Oklahoma, and that she went from extreme poverty to abundant wealth and back to poverty in her lifetime. I gave her a promise that I would share the oral tradition of the Muscogee (Creek) people and share her thoughts on how to teach the next generations to align their lives with the will of God.
Paul tells us in Romans that the fulfillment of the law is to love one another. Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus brings people from slavery to freedom, from brokenness to wholeness, and from death to life. We need to have a relationship with Jesus that we may also love each other as Jesus loves us. Paul asks us to, “Owe no one anything except to love one another.” Jesus tells us that when we are gathered here together, he will be with us. Let us witness to the reconciling power of Jesus Christ by listening to one another, caring for one another, and loving one another.
My great grandmother told me that there are two ways to know God. The first is with a relationship with Jesus Christ through loving one another. The second is through the Native American practice of knowing God through nature. She taught me to watch the sunrise every day and to give thanks to God for everything that I have received from God. She showed me how to listen to God’s will through a deep relationship with the natural world.
In a few weeks, many of us will travel to Iona, Scotland on pilgrimage. We will have the opportunity to meet God in nature and Jesus in the Word of God at the St. Columba Chapel. We will celebrate the Eucharist and either Evensong or Compline every day. Please pray for us and we will pray for you.
We are given the opportunity to hear the Word of God and to be in community each weekday through Morning Prayer. We have an 8AM and 10AM service on Sundays in person or on Zoom. There is noonday prayer on Wednesdays in the church and a Healing Service and an Evensong every month on Thursday nights. You are invited to join us with God because, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am among them ” (Matt. 18:20).
In Christ, Fr. Duncan