Friday, September 09 2022
Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one child like this in my name receives me; and whoever receives me does not receive me, but Him who sent me." (Mark 9:36-37)
At St. John’s, we say that our children are our treasure. Today is Sunday school registration in the Canterbury Corner and next week we will begin our Sunday school program. Christian Education begins every week at 9:40 in the Canterbury Corner with a children’s message from our curate, Fr. James. If anyone is available to assist with Sunday school, we are in need of help. Please let Christine Dore or Fr. James know if you are available. We will also kick off our youth group and young adult ministry this month. Registration for Confirmation and First Communion are also this Sunday. Youth Group is run by Rev. James Reiss and Ford Spilsbury. The first event is the barbeque on September 18th at 12 noon at the Centerport Beach. The first meeting is on September 25th at 6:30 pm in the Guild Room. In January we begin formal Confirmation and First Communion classes. First Communion will be April 16th at the 10:00 service. Confirmation will be held in May at the Cathedral in Garden City. We will also have adult classes for Reception into the Episcopal Church in January. Any children or youth who wish to be Acolytes may sign up with Fr. James. The training will be on October 9th after the 10:00 am service. New acolytes may serve on any Sunday starting on October 16th. Our experienced acolytes are invited to join us and help the new acolytes learn “the ropes.”
I know that parents are extremely busy and I understand that there are constant demands on Sunday morning. In my thirty years’ experience as a Youth Minister and Priest, I have found that Sunday school, acolyte ministry, and youth group are instrumental in developing great young adults. Giving of yourself in ministry, service, and worship has a lifelong effect on young people. I recommend that you invest as much of your precious time as you are able because of the fine women and men that come through the St. John’s youth programs. If you look around the church, you will notice some really fine people that make this parish and our Huntington community as nice as it is.
Today’s Gospel is about the overwhelming abundance of God’s forgiveness and the transforming love of God. Each of us plays the role of the Pharisee when we judge people. The Pharisees were grumbling about the way Jesus welcomes sinners and tax collectors. Like the people of the Old Testament, the people of Israel are portrayed as a complaining, grumbling stiff-necked people. The lawyers grumble about those who do not follow the law. The Pharisees complain that Jesus is healing on the Sabbath, eating with tax collectors and going out to a lower class of people. In today’s story, God’s unmerited love is offered to everyone, including sinners and outcasts. The fact of the matter is that we are forgiven through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is only through grace that we are saved. Perhaps we can learn something from those who are poor and powerless in our society. Perhaps Jesus comes to us when we least expect it in the person of a lost sheep or an immigrant at the border.
Do you remember the thief on the cross who humbly asked for forgiveness? The amazing grace of God is that we are all loved equally. God and heaven rejoice when just one sheep is returned to the flock and when one coin is found. God’s love for us exceeds our ability to understand it. We are called to treat everyone who enters our doors as God’s beloved and we are called to the border to be with those who are lost and hurting.
In Christ’s love,