Friday, September 25 2020
And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death-- even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians10-13)
In bible study this week, we studied the profile and praxis of a prophet. N.T. Wright tells us that “if we are to follow Jesus as Lord, we must know more about the one we are to follow.” Jesus says in the temple, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus explains the coming of the Kingdom of God through parables and more importantly, shows us what the Kingdom of God looks like by his actions. N.T. Wright says, “What Jesus was to Israel, the church must now be for the world.”
In today’s Gospel, we hear, “a man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go” (Matthew 21:28-30). Like the second son in the Gospel, many of us in the church want to do the right thing, but often we just get distracted. There are many factors to distract us today. If only one good thing comes out of this pandemic for you, I hope it is a rekindling of your faith in Jesus Christ. God brings us from bondage into freedom, from sin into righteousness, and from death into life.
You can bring the Good News to others by proclaiming that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Our church can bind up the brokenhearted by visiting one another or calling each other on the phone. Invite those you do not see on Sunday back to church again either on zoom, Facebook Live, or in person. We can proclaim liberty and release by letting our friends know that they are loved by God and forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ. We can clothe the naked by sending items from our Thrift Shop to Central Islip. We can feed the hungry by donating rice, beans, pasta, and other items to the local food pantry. We are bringing racial reconciliation and social justice through our Sacred Ground Program. Most of all, we can work together for our Harvest Fair on October 24, 2020. Please participate in any way you can. Buy raffle tickets, make a raffle basket, donate an auction item, volunteer to mark some white elephant items, or just pray that we will be able to support local charities and this church’s ministries as we have in the past. This COVID pandemic has made life and business very difficult for many of us in our community. Let us each do what we can to help one another get through it. Jesus taught us that if we share a little of what we have, there will be plenty for everyone. Jesus also taught us to love God and our neighbor. Loving everyone is difficult, but possible through the grace of God.
I give thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, who taught us to love one another as God loves us. I give thanksgiving for Coral, Claire, Fr. John, Jen, Alex, our nursery school teachers, and all our parishioners at St. John’s. I give thanks to all our parishioners, thanks to the ECW and Chris Boccia, thanks to Spirituality and Patti Aliperti, thanks to the Thrift Shop and Nancy Feustel, thanks for Laundry Love and Sue Cronje, thanks to Huntington Rapid Response, thanks to Racial Reconciliation and Social Justice and Heather Kress and Pat Ahmad, thanks to Sacred Ground and Bill Kiley, thanks for EFM and Leslie Valentine, thanks for Bible Study and Fr. John Morrison, thanks for St. Hilda’s Guild and Janice Burnett, thanks for Morning Prayer and Earl Matchett and Claire, thanks to the vestry and wardens, and thanks to Samantha Burns and Barbara Burns.
In Christ’s love,