Friday, September 06 2019
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
If we are followers of Jesus Christ we have a decision to make. The Gospel tells us that if we are to be disciples of Christ, we must carry our cross. Jesus Christ is the incarnate Word of God. By this I mean that Jesus in the flesh, lives out the Word of God. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves. Last week I mentioned that there is plenty of food, water, and shelter in the world, but we are not very good at sharing it with others. God asks us to welcome everyone to our table. This week Jesus asks us to give up ourselves and our possessions for the sake of others. Carrying our cross means that we need to live a life of self-giving instead of being selfish. Paul asks the church to do what God commands out of love. When we become followers we need to make a decision to follow the commandments of our Lord. Our lesson from Deuteronomy tells us that if we do this we shall live. Jesus tells us that if we believe in him, we will have abundant and eternal life. Both of these come with a cost. God’s grace is costly because it cost Jesus his life (Bonhoeffer). Jesus gave his life for us on a cross that we might be forgiven of our sins and have the only true life.
The beauty of loving God and our neighbor is that we feel the peace that passes all understanding, we receive the blessing of God, and we live a life that has meaning and purpose. As we begin another church school year at St. John’s, I ask you to give of yourself for the good of others. This can begin with prayer this Sunday for our loved ones, those on our prayer list, and those in need in the world. The Bahamas were devastated by the hurricane and they need our prayers and support. Families in Texas were devastated by two shootings and need our prayers and support. There is unrest and violence all over the world with refugees flooding our borders and countries all over the world. They need our prayers and support.
This week’s collect asks us to put our trust in God with all our heart. Jesus tells his disciples that they must love God above all other things. God asks for us to passionately follow the Gospel. I ask each of you to become passionate followers of Christ. Give of yourself for the purpose of helping others at St. John’s and you will live in the grace, love, and mercy of God. Stay for coffee and introduce yourself to newcomers. Invite family, friends, and neighbors to our concerts, Harvest Fair, and our church. Invite newcomers to share the hospitality that St. John’s is famous for at the coffee hour after church. We have an amazing group of parishioners and it is time to refocus our lives on being disciples of Jesus Christ.
Next weekend, Deacon Anthony will be ordained to the priesthood. He served the parish of St. John’s as a Deacon and will continue to serve as intern at St. Augustine’s in Brooklyn. He has carried his cross to several churches and to graduate school. We pray that God may fill him with the Holy Spirit and that his life will touch others. Please join us in Garden City for his ordination on September 14th at 11:00 AM. On Sunday September 15th he will celebrate the Eucharist at 9:30AM at St. Augustine’s in Brooklyn. Rev. Anthony Jones will also celebrate and preach at St. John’s on September 29th at 8:00 and 10.00.
In Christ’s love,