Saturday, January 21 2023
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The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian (Isaiah 9:2-4).
Fr. Dan preached last week on the season of Epiphany, The season is not a time for complacency between Christmas and Lent. Jesus calls the disciples out of their comfort zone into the Kingdom of God. In this week’s Gospel Jesus says. “Follow me.” Fr. Dan reminded us that Jesus will draw us out through the beatitudes to places that we may not want to go. There is no better example (in my opinion) of this than this week’s Gospel. Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” Jesus asks us to turn from idolatry and selfish desires and follow the path of teaching, healing, and proclaiming the Good News.
As we prepare for our annual meeting on February 5th after the 10:00 service, let us think about how we might follow Jesus Christ in 2023. We have been listening to women’s voices for the past eight weeks. Will God raise up a woman to be our next warden? Will God raise up a deacon in our congregation? What new ministries lay before us? If we refurbish the kitchen, will there be volunteers to help our breakfast committee and will we make meals again for the homeless? Who will represent us in the movement for creation care in Huntington and who will speak up against hate in our town? Will our Thrift Shop continue to flourish? The answer from our Baptismal Covenant is, “I will with God’s help.”
Last week Fr. Dan asked, “What kind of God do you want?” This week I ask the question, “Will you follow Jesus even if he draws you out where we can never return?” Fleming Rutledge asks us to look for God in his Word. The world has become a dark place. Lots of folks see the cross as foolishness. We are a parish in an ever secular, fast moving, polarized, and violent world. Yet there is a small, still voice that asks, “Give us grace, Oh Lord, to answer readily the call.” At St. John’s, we can witness to our faith by coming to church, worshiping and praising God, caring for God’s creation, striving for justice, and being sent out to the community to love and serve Christ. Please be confident that God has the strength to bring us to the Kingdom, that place where heaven and earth intersect, if we will only allow ourselves to see the light of Christ and be drawn out to where we can never return.
"Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies' straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return" (Annie Dillard).
In Christ's Love,