Friday, August 26 2022
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“What does the LORD require of you?
Today’s collect asks God to increase in us true religion. To me, true region is accepting Jesus Christ as our savior, who died on a cross for our sins that we might have life everlasting. True religion offers abundant life, a purpose driven life that provides meaning to this temporal existence. The collect continues, “Nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works.” When we believe in Jesus Christ, our lives are forever changed. The whole point of coming to church is to worship God, be drawn closer to Christ, and be sent out into the world to do God’s work with the power of the Holy Spirit. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is calling for a radical restructuring of society.
Martin Luther King, Jr. noted that, for peace and equity to be realized, individuals and nations would have to look beyond their own interest and work for what is best for all of humankind. He called for a revolution of values, for the formation of “a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation.” In reality, he said, this is a call “for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all people,” in contrast to the self-defeating path of hatred and retaliation.
In his conclusion, King wrote, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action…If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight. Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history” (Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Riverside Church in New York City, April 1967).
King wrote those words more than fifty five years ago. And while it may be true that nothing resembling expertise exists in the Christian life, if we aren’t yet convinced that tomorrow is today, if we aren’t feeling confronted – every time we read the news – with the fierce urgency of now, then we have more practicing to do We all have a lot more practicing to do. Fortunately, God’s invitation to us is always open. It is always now that we are invited to experience God’s grace and love, to sit at God’s table with all of God’s children. And it is an invitation we are empowered not just to answer but to extend to others, especially to those children of God who desperately need to know – NOW – that they, too, are worthy, they too are loved, they too, just like us, are the recipients of the totally undeserved mercy of God, every day. Remember that we serve humbly because of the commandment of God and not necessarily the goodness of other people.
I ask for you to join together NOW to be the church that God calls us to be. Please think of ways that you can take better care of God’s creation and all of God’s children.
In Christ’s love,