Sunday, February 24 2019
Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus gives a passionate teaching to all who will listen. Most of us know this as the Sermon on the Mount, but today, Jesus is sitting on level ground teaching his disciples, all who have gathered to hear him speak, and those who are trying to touch him in order to get healed. In fact, Jesus is speaking to all people in all times. We all hear these words again and again. Some of us know them by heart. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.” (Luke 6:20-24)
Some of this teaching is very difficult to understand, but one verse stands out to me as a summary of all the rest. Even my nursery school children know this verse from scripture. They know it as the “golden rule.” We are to love our neighbor as ourselves. While this is a simple rule to understand, Jesus turns the perspectives of world upside down in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus will cross boundaries, break religious rules, and cause people to be so uncomfortable that they will nail him to a cross to suffer and die. We must also push the boundaries of our own understanding, if we are ever to truly understand these radical teachings from Jesus.
Deacon Anthony has created a wonderful relationship with our sister parish, St Augustine’s so that we might see the world from a slightly different perspective and that we might enrich the lives of some good folks in Brooklyn. We have witnessed the lively, spiritual worship of St. Augustine and today we share our more traditional approach. Today, I am preaching at St. Augustine’s and Fr. Lawrence is preaching at St. John’s. It is an honor to have such an esteemed preacher in our midst this Sunday, and I ask and pray that his Word will fill your heart and bring you closer to the love of Jesus Christ.
Please give Deacon Anthony a warm welcome home at St. John’s. As you know, he has just finished the General Ordination Exam and is working on a Master of Divinity degree while working full-time as a VA lawyer and doing his internship at St. Augustine’s. Please pray for him as he prepares for ordination to the priesthood. We have been so blessed by the ministry of “Saint Anthony” these past few years and although we miss him greatly, we know that God is preparing him for a wonderful ministry as a priest.
Born in Indianapolis, IN, Father Lawrence received a B.A. from Wabash College in Biology and an M.A. in Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. While working on his doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins, he answered the call to ministry. He received his M.Div. in 2003 from Bexley Hall Seminary of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York, and was ordained to the priesthood in January 2004. He is the former Rector of St. Anne's Episcopal Church in North Carolina and is currently the Rector at St. Augustine’s in Brooklyn. Father Lawrence and his wife, Sharita, are the proud parents of three children Caleb, Isaac and Miriam. Let us welcome him as we were welcomed at St. Augustine’s.
In Christ’s love,