Friday, September 24 2021
Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child, to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors’? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.” (Numbers 11:10-15)
Justo Gonzales is a Liberation Theologian and historian. He compares the activity of the church across the world over the past two thousand years. Gonzales observed that the North American and European Christian churches are receding. The geology of Christians is shifting. The global south is growing by leaps and bounds and the Northern Churches are barely holding on.
When we look at our lives in the past several years, most of us notice that our Christian landscape in America is changing. Episcopalians have decreased from 3.4 million in 1965 to maybe 1.6 million today. Of the 1.6 million, a majority will not attend church this Sunday. Mark’s Gospel asks us “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?”
In the reading from Numbers, the people of Israel are complaining to Moses. God brought them out of bondage in Egypt, to the desert and provided them with manna to eat. They struggled to see that the landscape had changed and could only look back at the good food that they enjoyed as slaves in Egypt. They missed their roasted meat so they complained to Moses. Moses tells God that their burden is too great. They whine and complain about not having meat. The fact of the story that most people do not realize is that most of these folks will never make it to the Promised Land.
At St. John’s we are called to proclaim Jesus Christ as the messiah, the son of the Living God. For the past few weeks we have been asked question after question. This week Fr. John Morrison will be recognized for his ministry at St. John’s and will preach at the 10:00 service on Sunday. Please join us to celebrate his ministry, his move to Connecticut, and to hear him preach, “Questions, questions, questions.” At 11:30 we will have a memorial service for Robert Boise and celebrate his ministry at St. John’s. This week we had a Sacred Ground session with eight different churches, the Thrift Shop was open, we had two sessions of bible study, five Morning Prayer services, a wake, two memorial services, a baptism, a wedding, a youth group barbeque, three AA meetings, two choir rehearsals, yoga, Nursery school with 54 children, Sunday school, an ECW Harvest Fair meeting, a St. Hilda’s Guild meeting, four Holy Eucharist services, and we have almost completed a $150,000 historic restoration of our building. I give thanks for your faith and the saltiness of your ministry in an ever changing landscape.
In Christ’s love,