Friday, January 21 2022
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Isaiah proclaimed to an oppressed people that soon they would be freed. “Jesus rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to zealously preach, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing"(Luke 4:20-21).
Jesus is going out into the world to demonstrate God’s love and mercy through his ministry. Deacons are a prime example as to how this ministry should be carried out. I am so thankful that we have the example of Jesus Christ us to show us the path of truth in this misguided pandemic-ridden world. God calls us to see those who are hurting and oppressed in the world, to roll open the scroll, and to fulfill the message of loving your neighbor through your actions in the world. When we throw a pebble into a still pond, the impact creates a ripple effect. That is what evangelism is all about, sharing the love of Christ in a self-indulgent, greedy, violent, and sinful world. Evangelism is not about getting people back to church. It is developing a relationship with the living presence of the Lord and bringing love and help where and how it is needed in the world. It is about listening to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in community and aligning our lives to the will of God. It is about understanding that we all have our own set of cultural beliefs, yet being able to love and serve those who may not completely agree with you. It is about the invitation, hospitality, and incorporation of others into the faith and love of Christ and the ministry of St. John’s. My hope is that you will have a belly burning thirst for helping others and that others will wonder, what inspires you to do good? When they do, I hope you will invite them to come and see the love and mercy that God offers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When they come back, I hope you will invite them to work in the Thrift Shop, to bring in a coat for the homeless, to help the St. Hilda’s Guild on Tuesdays on zoom, help out with ECW fair, sing in the choir, help read the lessons on Sunday, serve at the altar, or if you like, just join us each week at worship on Sunday.
Next Saturday, Clair Mis will be ordained to the deaconate. Claire has been such a blessing to St. John’s! “Deacons are members of one of three distinct orders of ordained ministry (with bishops and priests). In the Episcopal Church a deacon exercises 'a special ministry of servanthood' directly under the deacon's bishop, serving all people and especially those in need (BCP, p. 543). This definition reflects the practice of the early church, in which deacons were ordained 'not to the priesthood but to the servanthood [ministry] of the bishop'... Since ancient times the liturgical functions of deacons have suggested the activity of angels. As they proclaim the gospel, lead intercessions, wait at the Eucharistic table, and direct the order of the assembly, deacons act as sacred messengers, agents, and attendants. The revival of the order of deacons in the twentieth century has emphasized social care and service. Many bishops in the Episcopal Church expect their deacons to promote care of the needy outside the church” (Episcopal Dictionary).
In Christ’s love,