Sunday, January 26 2020
"Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return" (Annie Dillard).
In the book of Acts, we are told that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on earth is the joining of the earth and heaven in the Kingdom of God. We pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” God is active at St. John’s and the Holy Spirit gives us the power to witness to the love of God and to be the light of Christ in a land of darkness.
The Good News is that Jesus came to show us that God loves us, equips us with the gifts we need to respect and love one another, and gives us what we need to live an abundant life. We are a healthy and active church in the Diocese of Long Island. If we are healthy, it is because of our relationship with Jesus Christ and our willingness to witness to that love. If we are active, it is through the grace of God, in the love of Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We can shine a great beacon of light because everything we do comes through the peace, love, and grace of God. Ask yourself this, "If St. John's were not here, would it make a difference to this community?"
My hope for the coming year is that the 275th Anniversary will light a fire within our hearts. This past week a group from St. John’s went to St. Augustine’s to the MLK service. Fr. Anthony sang in the choir and gave the closing prayer. They sang of their love of Christ and of the hope that the work started by Martin Luther King Jr. will continue. But what really touched my soul was the passion in the dance and singing of the children, youth, and adults. They truly witnessed to their deep faith and love of God.
At St. John’s, we can witness to our faith by coming to church, worshiping and praising God, and being sent out to the community to love and serve Christ. We are a parish in an ever secular, fast moving, polarized, and violent world. Paul asks us to, “be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose.” In other words, we are all one in Christ. Please be confident that God has the strength to bring us to the Kingdom, that place where heaven and earth intersect, if we will only allow ourselves to see the light of Christ and be drawn out to where we can never return.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian” (Isaiah 9:2-4).
In Christ’s love,