Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.

4/30/2007

Why Ask Me?


An Amish man was once asked by an enthusiastic young evangelist whether he had been saved, and whether he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior?

The gentleman replied,
Why do you ask me such a thing? I could tell you anything. Here are the names of my banker, my grocer, and my farm hands. Ask them if I've been saved.

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4/29/2007

More than a feeling

Easter Sunday at King of Peace

The most common mistake Christians make in worship today is seeking an experience, rather than seeking God. They look for a feeling, and if it happens, they conclude that they have worshipped. Wrong. In fact, God often removes our feelings so we won't depend on them.

Seeking a feeling, even the feeling of closeness to Christ, is not worship.

Rick Warren (1954- )

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  • At 5/01/2007 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow! This one really hit home for me, Frank! So often I'm looking for that "experience" instead of letting God in. Great food for thought.

    -your sister-in-law and sister in Christ,
    Laurie

     

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4/28/2007

Your Mission Vestry

The church board for King of Peace is pictured above. Known as the Mission Vestry, this group is charged with overseeing the temporal (business) affairs of the congregation. The group is (from left) Senior Warden Mike Gross, Junior Warden Robert Davenport-Ray, Secratary Bill Bruce, Bob Shirley, Treasurer Neil Maxwell, Karen Beck and JoAnn White. The group meets on second Thursdays at 6 p.m. and the meetings are always open to the public.

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The Good Shepherd

A Chinese artist's rendering of Jesus as the Good ShepherdIn tomorrow's Gospel reading Jesus says,
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.

Lindy Black offers the following quotable items
We expect Jesus to say that the sheep follow him because they know him, but instead he says that they follow him because he knows them.
We long to be known—to be understood at the deepest levels. (Donovan)
A fifth century prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ,
Thou Good Shepherd of the sheep,
who camest to seek the lost,
and to gather them into Thy fold,
have compassion upon those
who have wandered from Thee,
feed those who hunger,
cause the weary to lie in Thy pastures,
bind up those who are with broken heart,
and strengthen those who are weak,
that we, relying on Thy care
and being comforted by Thy love,
may abide in Thy guidance to our lives' end.
Amen.

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4/27/2007

Forgiveness is not being sentimental

In forgiving, people are not being asked to forget. On the contrary, it is important to remember, so that we should not let such atrocities happen again. Forgiveness does not mean condoning what has been done. It means taking what happened seriously and not minimizing it; drawing out the sting in the memory that threatens to poison our entire existence. It involves trying to understand the perpetrators and so have empathy, to try to stand in their shoes and appreciate the sort of pressures and influences that might have conditioned them.

Desmond TutuForgiveness is not being sentimental. The study of forgiveness has become a growth industry... Forgiving has even been found to be good for your health.

Forgiving means abandoning your right to pay back the perpetrator in his own coin, but it is a loss that liberates the victim. In the commission we heard people speak of a sense of relief after forgiving. A recent issue of the journal Spirituality and Health had on its front cover a picture of three U.S. ex-servicemen standing in front of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. One asks, “Have you forgiven those who held you prisoner of war?” “I will never forgive them,” replies the other. His mate says: “Then it seems they still have you in prison, don’t they?”
Desmond Tutu (1931- )

Today's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian is Forgiving means forgetting and other forgiveness myths

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  • At 4/27/2007 7:42 AM, Anonymous Linda + said…

    I agree with the Archbishop. Forgiveness is hard work, but it is rewarding work. It's something like climbing a mountain. The view and the fresh breeze are worth the [sometimes agonizing] effort. I have been breathing some rarefied air lately myself.

     

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4/26/2007

True reconciliation is not cheap

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu
We do not usually rush to expose our vulnerability and our sinfulness....If a husband and a wife have quarreled without the wrongdoer acknowledging his or her fault by confessing, so exposing the cause of the rift; if a husband in this situation comes home with a bunch of flowers and the couple pretends all is in order, then they will be in for a rude shock. They have not dealt with their immediate past adequately. They have glossed over their differences, for they have failed to stare truth in the face for fear of a possible bruising confrontation.

They will have done what the prophet calls healing the hurt lightly by crying, “Peace, peace where there is no peace.” They will have only papered over the cracks and not worked out why they fell out in the first place. All that will happen is that, despite the beautiful flowers, the hurt will fester. One day there will be an awful eruption and they will realize that they had tried to obtain reconciliation on the cheap. True reconciliation is not cheap. It cost God the death of His only begotten Son.
Desmond Tutu (1931- )

Over at On Faith, the panelists are answering the question "What is the relationship of apology (repentance) to forgiveness?" That's at Apology and Forgiveness

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4/25/2007

The task I must undertake...

Lazy people are a pain to their employer.
They are like smoke in the eyes
or vinegar that sets the teeth on edge.
—Proverbs 10:26
cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com


Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

If you are looking for a strong work ethic to get you off the Internet and back to the project on which you are procrastinating on by way of reading Irenic Thoughts, try these selections from the Book of Proverbs in the New Living translation:

Lazy people are soon poor;
hard workers get rich. (10:4)

Work hard and become a leader;
be lazy and become a slave. (12:24)

Lazy people don't even cook the game they catch,
but the diligent make use of everything they find. (12:27)

Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper
and be satisfied. (13:4)

A lazy person has trouble all through life;
the path of the upright is easy! (15:19)

One who is slack in work
is close kin to a vandal. (18:9)

A lazy person sleeps soundly
–and goes hungry. (19:15)

If you are too lazy to plow in the right season,
you will have no food at the harvest. (20:4)

The lazy person is full of excuses, saying,
"If I go outside, I might meet a lion
in the street and be killed!" (22:13)

If you are actually lazy, then these perhaps apply to you double. But, workaholics are to realize that I selected the above proverbs to deal with my own procrastination.

If you, like me, are hard at work on something other than that project with a looming deadline. Then you, like me (who needs to be writing a religion column for the newspaper and not a blog entry) should get back to that main project now.

Hmm. Maybe I'll make some coffee first. ;-)

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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3 Comments:

  • At 4/25/2007 8:15 AM, Anonymous jim said…

    Coffee will fix it. It always does!

     
  • At 4/25/2007 2:05 PM, Blogger November In My Soul said…

    Preach it Brother, preach it. Actually I am trying to write a speech and had to go the restroom and then get coffee then check my email then fidget in my chair then...back to the speech.

     
  • At 4/25/2007 2:43 PM, Anonymous kenny said…

    This kind of topic is sure to keep drawing the crowds in in droves.

     

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4/24/2007

New Olive Branch Online

May 2007 Olive Branch



The latest issue of The Olive Branch is now online and has information on a number of upcoming events at King of Peace, including a May 3 Child Safety Day, the Friday May 18 piano concert and dedication, the July 9-13 Kids in the Kingdom Week (click on the image below for more on the VBS) and July 28 Children's Festival.





Bethlehem Village
Coming July 9-13, 2007

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What a priest looks like

You are a chosen people.
You are a kingdom of priests,
God's holy nation, his very own possession.
This is so you can show others the goodness of God,
for he called you out of the darkness
into his wonderful light.
—I Peter 2:9 (NLT)

Homer Simpson as Episcopal Priest

Bishop John WalkerThe Images of Priesthood Blog is an outgrowth of the Habits of the Priesthood course at my alma mater, Virginia Theological Seminary. The images of what a priest looks like include the metaphorical and parables as well as literal.

As the site's intent is to work with images relating to priests as we understand the priesthood generally in the Episcopal Church, the criticism I have is probably not valid. But what I notice is that they do not work at all with the New Testament idea of a priest. Their are three ways priests are discussed in the New Testament: 1) The temple priests in Jerusalem whose work ended with the destruction of the Temple in 70 a.d. 2) Jesus as our great High Priest (in the letter to the Hebrews), and 3) the priesthood of all believers.

The word Eucharist means ThanksgivingThe New Testament words for the orders of ministry—Bishop (Episkopos), Priest (Presbuteros) and Deacon (Diakonos)—show our current Episcopal Church usage of "priest" as shown in the images of priesthood blog applies to the presbuteros, or presbyters, which means "elders." So the blog and its look at images of the presbuteros, commonly referred to as priests in the Episcopal Church today is a great look at the range of meaning for that term. I just want to also uphold that we have four orders of ministry in the Episcopal Church: Lay persons, Bishops, Priests and Deacons. And the laity are an integral part of the Kingdom of Priests who serve God.

And so to the others here, I add my own favorite photo of myself as a priest. You say psycho like its a bad thingA church planter has to be ready, like a missionary in foreign lands, to cut out a clearing and build a church. At King of Peace, we did both of those things together as a congregation. And this photo (taken after I had chopped at some roots under water that were blocking free flow of water out of a wet area) dates to a time in the life of King of Peace when I would chop away at trees with abandon alongside my wife, Victoria, or Mark or Gil pause to catch my breath and say, "You say psycho like its a bad thing."

Since then, we have tamed our seven acres, built a worthy building to extend our ministry in the community and made it possible for the lay persons to live into their own priesthood as they find and follow the ministries God has for each of them by virtue of that ordination service we call baptism. So the answer to the question of what a priest looks like...a priest looks like you, especially when you are serving others.

peace,
frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

And now God is building you,
as living stones, into his spiritual temple.
What's more, you are God's holy priests,
who offer the spiritual sacrifices
that please him because of Jesus Christ.
—I Peter 2:5

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  • At 7/14/2007 4:15 PM, Blogger Peter said…

    Frank,

    These are wonderful and helpful comments on my blog on the "image of the priesthood," you have carefully and intelligently critiqued my lack of discussion (and depiction) of the other orders of ministry - and pointed out that Christ's priesthood and the priesthood of all believers are essential.!

    Thanks so much, I didn't see that you had commented, and linked to the blog until quite recently ... I enjoy your Irenic Thoughts blog and I wanted to let you know about my blog "Santos Woodcarving Popsicles" at http://santospopsicles.blogspot.com or www.petercarey.org ...

    I begin ordained ministry as a transitional deacon this summer at St. Catherine's School in Richmond.

    Peace to you,

    Peter

     

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4/23/2007

True Christian hospitality

click here to buy the book at AmazonIn her recent book, Christianity for the Rest of Us, Diana Butler Bass writes of hospitality in churches in a way that sounds like how we talk about it at King of Peace, so of course I like what she has to say:
Occasionally, I have attended churches with “hospitality programs” or “welcome committees” where friendliness seems little more than a phony act to get newcomers to join the church. At such places, hospitality typically follows a secular model-such as the neighborhood Welcome Wagon of the 1960s, which, for all its friendliness, was essentially a way to promote certain stores and products. In some churches “hospitality” appears to be a code word for promotion, with the church as the primary product. Hospitality is an instrument used for another end: to sign people up as pledging members.

True Christian hospitality is not a recruitment strategy designed to manipulate strangers into church membership. Rather, it is a central practice of the Christian faith-something Christians are called to do for the sake of that thing itself. Hospitality draws from the ancient taproots of Christian faith, from the soil of the Middle East, where it is considered a primary virtue of community. Although it is a practice shared by Jews and Muslims, for Christians hospitality holds special significance: Christians welcome strangers as we ourselves have been welcome into God through the love of Jesus Christ. Through hospitality, Christians imitate God’s welcome. Therefore, hospitality is not a program, not a single hour of ministry in the life of a congregation. It stands at the heart of a Christian way of life, a living icon of wholeness in God.
The emphasis above is mine. Hospitality is one of the values of King of Peace.

In the archives are the blog post Welcoming the Stranger and the sermon The Value of Hospitality.

Easter lunch at King of Peace

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4/22/2007

Ongoing Easter

Stations of the Resurrection
Today, for our Kids in the Kingdom Sunday, we revisited the Stations of the Cross trail we last visited for the March Kids in the Kingdom. Easter Egg dashThis time, we spoke of the Stations of the Resurrection and 14 appearances of Jesus after his death from the earthquake and the empty tomb to the ascension and then his appearance to Saul in a vision.

After a tour of the stations with the ongoing refrain of Alleluia! He is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia! we ate pizza and then the kids went back out for an Easter Egg hunt with lots of prize eggs.

Why still in Easter? This is Eastertide, the Sundays of Easter between the great feast itself and Pentecost Sunday 50 days later. The entire season is a time of remembering Jesus' resurrection and these appearances to his disciples and others.

Easter Egg Hunt

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A startling new beginning

The Easter Vigil at King of PeaceToday is the third Sunday of Easter and as our celebration of Jesus' resurrection continues here are some thoughts of N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, England, written for The Guardian on the resurrection:

If you frame Easter in the terms of the perceived problem, you belittle it. Whether you think in terms of pie in the sky (at best a thoroughly subChristian concept) or a better society, all you get is a happy ending after a sad or sinful story.

And whatever Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were doing in writing the final sections of their books, they were not telling the story of Jesus's resurrection as a happy ending. They were telling it as a startling new beginning. Easter morning isn't a slow, gentle waking up after the difficult operation. It's the electric shock that brings someone back to life in a whole new way.

That's why the Easter stories tumble out in bits and pieces, with breathless chasings to and fro and garbled reports - and then, stories like nothing else before or since. As the great New Testament scholar EP Sanders put it, the writers were trying to describe an experience that does not fit a known category. They knew all about ghosts and visions, and they knew it wasn't anything like that.

Flowering the cross on Easter morning at King of PeaceEqually, they knew the risen Jesus wasn't just a resuscitated corpse, still less someone who had almost died but managed to stagger on after all. They had the puzzled air of people saying, "I know this sounds wacky, but this is truly how it was." They were stumblingly describing the birth of new creation, starting with Jesus but intended for the whole world.
The full text of his commentary is online here: Face to Faith.

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4/21/2007

Feeding sheep


In this weekend's Gospel reading Jesus meets his disciples on the shore of the Sea of Gallilee and cooks fish for them. Having fed his disciples literally, Jesus moves to metaphor. He speaks to Peter, asking Peter three times "Do you love me?" and three times Peter responds that he does. Each time Jesus tells him "Feed my sheep."

Lutheran pastor Hubert Beck has noted,
"Feed my lambs . . . tend my sheep," Those are not words for pastors or church officials only. They are words for parents and teachers, workers in the lab and those who tend the ground to raise crops, those who sit at computers performing their work and those who nurse the sick and troubled . . . for all of God's people everywhere. God's lambs and sheep are everywhere, and our Lord calls us to "tend them, to feed them, to become his presence among and for them," feeding them with the word that we, ourselves, have heard: "Peace be with you."
What do you think about this? In what ways can a banker be involved in feeding sheep? What about a real estate agent? A mechanic? A housewife? How could they respond to Jesus' call?

What would it look like in your own life if you took Jesus' command, "Feed my sheep" to apply not just to Peter, but to you as well?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

To the Lord's one and only question,
Peter had no other answer than I do love you.
And each time the Lord gave Peter the same command:
Feed my sheep.

Let us love one another then,
and by so doing we shall be loving Christ.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

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4/20/2007

When we love, we heal

Frank's photo of a poppy blooming out of a rock in Israel
If we haven't been healed of the wounds of our past life, there is a strong possibility that we'll pass those wounds on to others—our community, our family members, friends and so on...

An unwillingness to forgive others for the real or imaginary wrongs they have done us is a poison that can affect our health—physical, emotional and spiritual—sometimes very deeply...

Healing, praying and loving all go hand in hand. Healing is loving. When we heal, we love; when we love, we heal; when we love one another, we affirm, we nurture and we cherish that person. Sometimes in our lives we can try to solve a problem and there is time for that. But sometimes just letting ourselves love again and be loved can solve so many problems. When we let go and just soak up love from the Lord and others, we have a whole new power to go on again...

Healing does not usually take place instantly but is a process. Deep pain and resentment, which have developed over time, will usually take time and love and patient prayer to heal. Often there are layers of hurt, resentment and un-freedom that need to be uncovered in prayer. Once one layer of hurt, resentment and un-freedom has been healed, others may present themselves for healing. We know we are healed when we can recall the hurting experience without trauma.
—The Rev. Peter Hosking as quoted in Richard Carter's book In Search of the Lost.

Hosking made these remarks as he worked with the Melanesian Brotherhood in the aftermath of their peacemaking efforts putting them in situations no one should have to see or experience including the deaths of seven of their members. These remarks seem worth revisiting in this week of a nation coming to terms with a massacre. Hosking's words speak to all sorts of pain, and of a type of healing needed by many whose experiences in life have layered on hurt, resentment and un-freedom.

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  • At 4/20/2007 8:03 AM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    From personal experience, I can say this is "spot on."

    From observation, I believe love and forgiveness were missing components in the life of the young man who plunged Virginia Tech into chaos this week. His is a worst case scenario.

     

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4/19/2007

Virginia Tech & Alphege of Canterbury

Today is the saint's day for the not-as-popular-as-he-once-was Alphege of Canterbury (943-1012). Last night, on the eve of this lesser feast of the church, we read the readings for Alphege, which so closely related to news of this week. In our worship, we began with a Litany for the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Then the sermon I gave said in part,
Alphege of CanterburyAn airliner crashes into the Potomac River on a snowy night and a pedestrian jumps into the water, pulls people to safety and dies in the effort. As the towers of the World Trade Center fall, they take with them the lives of firefighters, policemen and paramedics who ran into harm’s way to save others. A gunman takes over an Amish school and a 13-year old girl tells the killer to kill her first, hoping to buy time for her classmates.

A rabbi friend told me once that had there not been a man like Oskar Schindler who saved Jews from death in the Holocaust, then we would have invented him. But the rabbi knew and said that we never had to invent men like Schindler, or Maximilian Kolb, the Catholic priest who offered to die in the place of another man, or the many other stories of Holocaust heroism. And now to these stories, we add professor Liviu Librescu and the others who acted selflessly in the face of death.

I recall these acts on this night as we are on the eve of the Feast of Saint Alphege of Canterbury, another who belongs to this list of selfless saints.
The full text of this sermon on light shining in the darkness is online here: Do Not Fear: Virginia Tech & Alphege of Canterbury

On Faith Panelists on the Virginia Tech Murders
On Faith, an online forum of Newsweek and The Washington Post, have their panelist answering,
How does your faith tradition explain (and respond to) senseless tragedies such as the Virginia Tech shootings?
The main page with all the panelists is here: On Faith and some of the responses more in our part of the larger tradition are here:

Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon, and
Bishop N.T. Wright.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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4/18/2007

Thinking about Scripture

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, gave a lecture on scripture this week to a group of theology students, beginning with the point,
One of the things that most clearly and universally identifies Christians as Christians is that they habitually read the Bible.
He went on to note that for most of its history, the Bible has been primarily a public document, one encountered through hearing it read. He said,
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williamsthe Church's public use of the Bible represents the Church as defined in some important way by listening: the community when it comes together doesn't only break bread and reflect together and intercede, it silences itself to hear something. It represents itself in that moment as a community existing in response to a word of summons or invitation, to an act of communication that requires to be heard and answered.
Interesting. We are primarily a community who gathers to hear. And what we gather to hear is God speaking to us in a fresh way through the scripture read in our midst. Not new thoughts, but interesting to put together. I feel worship is our primary purpose to come together and still think so, but in our worship we primarily listen.

The archbishop said, "all this is essentially about seeing Scripture as the vehicle of God's act to bring about conversion." He made 6 key points:
  1. Scripture is something through which the community affirms its identity and seeks its renewal;

  2. we need to develop the skills needed to avoid the misuse of texts by abstracting them from the questions they actually put;

  3. thus also, the discernment of what are the changes a reading sets out and proposes for the reader/hearer;

  4. an understanding that this last is decisively and authoritatively illuminated by hearing scripture in the setting of a communion service;

  5. the consequent holding together of our communion service and the Scripture read in it through a strong doctrine of the Spirit's work in constructing the community of Christ's Body; and

  6. the recognition that neither Scripture nor communion make sense without commitment to the resurrection of Jesus as the fundamental condition of a Church whose identity is realised in listening and responding.
The full text of his lecture is online here: The Bible Today: Reading & Hearing

Thoughtful Blogs
If this seems a little heavy, perhaps it is because I am trying to honor the Thinking Blogger Award given to Irenic Thoughts. It's awkward in that the first blog that comes to mind for this award is the one that gave it to me, November in My Soul, but here are five I follow and want to recommend (not already awarded that I know of):

Biblische Ausbildung
Dr. Stephen Cook's Blog from Virginia Seminary

Questing Parson
The Rev. Guy Kent's Blog

World of Your Making
The Rev. Rick Lord's blog at Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia

Father Steve+ Blog
from Waynesboro, Georgia

Sunrise on the Marsh
The Rev. Linda McCloud's blog at Our Savior Honey Creek

Here are the instructions:1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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4/17/2007

The Deadliest Rampage...

The shootings at Virginia Tech have ended and so even before pain and grief can fully settle in, the blaming begins. The official emails of warning will be disected and compared to what was known when, while others ask is any campus safe or look for who to accuse of what on the Virginia Tech campus. It is natural and all too predictable that when tragedy occurs we try to figure out why it couldn't have happened to me or someone I love. I wouldn't have been there or done that or acted that way or...

There may be real blame to be assessed for the slow flow of communication. But for most of us, it isn't helpful to throw stones at the VT leaders who are no doubt doing Monday morning quarterbacking on their own now. The best reaction to devastating pain and loss isn't with words anyway.

The best reaction is to, when possible, be with those in grief. The Episcopal Church in Blacksburg is responding (through the campus ministry, Canterbury House, and the local church, Christ Church) to this tragedy and will work together with other churches in the area to form an ecumenical response as well. It matters less what they say at Canterbury House and Christ Church and more that they make room for the pain and the questioning as they are present with those who are suffering. In the midst of a tragedy, is not yet the time to try to make sense of it. Instead, it is the time to let God speak to one's own heart.

I offer my own small prayer for us as we try to find a way to respond to so great a tragedy:
Almighty God, you did not leave us
to our own devices and desires but came to live among us
through your Son Jesus Christ
and endured pain and death to redeem human suffering,
give us the grace of your presence
in the midst of unspeakable pain and loss
and grant that we may bear your light
into the dark places of this life
by being present to others as they grieve,
through the power of your Holy Spirit.
Amen.

I offer another prayer for those who are grieving this day in Blacksburg, Virginia and well beyond as the pain of this tragedy stretch out to all connected with it:

Heavenly Father, you taught us through your Son Jesus
that not one sparrow falls to the earth that you do not know of it
and that even the hairs of our head are numbered,
give your peace beyond understanding to all those
affected by the shootings at Virginia Tech
and other senseless acts of violence
that in time the pain of this loss may be redeemed
by the power of your great love,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

It may seem like too much to ask for that this tragedy will be redeemed, and maybe it is. Certainly the suffering will spiral out from the campus. But so to will the love of those affected. And the love will be greater than the hate. And in small ways, the good that God desires will be done not because of this tragic shooting that was not God's will, but in spite of it.

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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1 Comments:

  • At 4/17/2007 9:14 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Father Steve's blog has an article he wrote based on his own experience with a school shooting in an elementary schol where his mother was the principal. It's online at: Kyrie Eleison.

     

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4/16/2007

You Tube Roundup


Prayer Answer-er


Father Matthew presents The Passion Play


The Easter Vigil at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church
"It's the tiniest clip three minutes of a liturgy that was
close to three hours, but it does capture some of the wonder
St. Gregory's felt at this year's vigil."



Jeopardy Parody on Bible Knowledge

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2 Comments:

  • At 4/16/2007 1:24 PM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Thank you, Gen X friend. Now I'm more caught up on cool.

     
  • At 4/16/2007 3:30 PM, Anonymous jim said…

    You're cooler than me.

    I still write my blog posts on notebook paper, put them in an envelope, send them to Wordpress, and have them type them in...

    many smiles

     

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4/15/2007

I’ve never met a pastor who needed help

click here to see more Easter photos of King of Peace
From Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First: Rediscovering Ministry, Bill Easum, with Linnea Nilsen Capshaw, Nashville, Abingdon Press, 2004, pg. 14:
“You know, one of the issues here is that everyone relies too much on the pastor to do all the ministry.”

Before I could finish the man blurted out, “I’m aware our pastor needs help, but we can’t afford to hire any more staff."

I couldn’t let that one go unanswered, so I responded, “I’ve never met a pastor who needed help. You don’t need more staff. All you need to do is equip your congregation to do ministry.”

For a brief moment the man looked at me dumbfounded and perplexed. Then with a hint of sadness in his voice he uttered the most despicable statement a Christian can make: "But we’re just laypeople. We’re not called to the ministry and we certainly aren’t professionals.”
I found this quoted at the blog for Methodist Bishop William Willimon. He has more to say on it here: The point of pastoral ministry: Lay ministry

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  • At 4/18/2007 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't mind ministering to one another, but I'll leave the hard stuff to the trained pastor. It's in the job description.

     

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4/14/2007

The Gift of Doubts

In tomorrow's Gospel reading we hear the passage from John with Thomas expresses that he will have to see Jesus himself and touch his wounds to believe that he has been raised from the dead as the other disciples claim. While it was not a sermon about Thomas, I did once preach a sermon A Faith that Is in You in which I talked directly about doubts. I told of a Diocese of Georgia clergy conference I had been to not long before saying in part,
Thomas and Jesus as Thomas confesses 'My Lord and my God'the most recent Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey told us that the world needs and expects believing priests. This is of course true. I stand here this morning to say as clearly as possible that I know in my bones and it does not contradict what I know with my brain, that there is a God who made us, loves us and wants to redeem us. I believe the Bible that we read here each week and try to pattern my life to follow its teachings.

But I can’t stop there and neither did Archbishop Carey. He went on to say that the faith we should have is an active faith not afraid of working through doubts and uncertainties to greater truth.

He then said, “Do I doubt? Of course. Every thinking person doubts. The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.” For Carey, doubts and uncertainties may be God’s spirit leading us beyond the lesser truths where we have stopped along the way to a fuller understanding of who God is and how God acts in our lives.
Thomas' doubts led him to greater faith and so can yours if you have the courage to examine and consider your doubts and the honesty to seek answers. God is not afraid of your doubts. God may well have given those doubts to you to draw you further into the truth.

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  • At 4/20/2007 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, never thought of it that way. Very helpful to know.

     

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4/13/2007

I don’t want to walk past

Yesterday, I told of a connection made between King of Peace and the Melanesian Brotherhood in a time of crisis and death in the Solomon Islands.

Today, I want to share what the Rev. Richard Carter has been up to more recently. He has returned to England and serves as an Assistant Priest at St. Martin in the Fields Church in London.

On March 18, he preached a sermon Exploring God's Parable of the Lost and Found on the parable usually referred to as The Prodigal Son. He wrote in part:
When I toured many secondary schools performing this parable in 2005 our prodigal became a black migrant in the UK with all the temptations facing a newly arrived youth in a modern city. The Melanesian Brotherhood performs The Prodigal Son in EnglandThe dissolute living for those who performed the story became the unremitting message of a consumerist society that “to be is to have” - have money, have instant gratification, have mobile, have ipod, have alcohol, have drugs, have who you want, have what you want 24/7. And it left our prodigal like the original without anyone or anything, alone on the streets.

In the drama I told the kids to walk past our prodigal. He was lying on the ground without anything, like the homeless people we often see on our city pavements. “Walk past him” I said, “like we do.” Walk past him like when someone wants to sell you The Big Issue. And in our drama we did. And then in one school where we were performing the drama in Merseyside one young boy aged eleven confronted me:

“I don’t want to walk past”.

“What?” I asked.

“I don’t want to walk past him, I want to help him.”

“You can’t do that, it’s not in the script” I told him.

“But I want to help him” he said.

“Well then I suppose you better had.” I replied.

He went over and put his hand on the Prodigal sons shoulder and knelt down beside him.

“Look if your hungry I can ask my Mum to get you something to eat.”

Mothers are like that.

The Melanesian Brotherhood performs The Prodigal Son in EnglandI saw that Christ’s parable had made its journey across time and culture. And the story was being inhabited by this young boy who had had the courage to stand up to the pressure of group conformity and make his response his own. Christ’s parable was alive and continuing its work in Merseyside and there was hope in that.
The full text of the sermon is online in PDF format here: Exploring God's Parable of the Lost and Found.

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  • At 4/13/2007 7:26 AM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    Richard Carter's take on the Prodigal is so connected to the film clip you showed at King of Peace on March 17-18 when the Gospel dealt with the Prodigal Son, that I think it's time you met this guy. You have already proven that you are a great team.

     
  • At 4/13/2007 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can't help but say that the boy sure sounds like a true Liverpudlian. That's how I was raised - to help. Glad to hear that's still being taught in some homes there.

     

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4/12/2007

Widening the Human Family

In Search of the Lost


The Rev. Richard Anthony Carter's book, In Search of the Lost, on the death and life of seven peacemakers of the Melanesian Brotherhood is a profoundly good book.

In tomorrow's religion column for the Tribune & Georgian I'll tell the extraordinary story of how I came to own a copy. Today, I'll give Irenic Thoughts readers a sneak peek at that column:




Unseen connections more binding
than those we see

I am not given to crying. I do cry. But rarely. So I was taken aback to find myself crying in the Kingsland Post Office a couple of weeks ago. But there in my mail was proof of an intangible connection shared with a man I had never met who had lived in the south Pacific when that connection was forged.

It all began in 2003 when I was preparing a group of teens and adults to make a public profession of their faith in Jesus. I find it important on occasions like this to connect Christians here in south Georgia to very different experiences of our Christian faith in other parts of the world. For example, I had previously explored with a different group the experience of being Christian in the Sudan, where our sisters and brothers in the faith suffer persecution.

click to see a larger map of the Solomon IslandsBut in early August of 2003, what was on my mind was the missing members of the Melanesian Brotherhood. And I read to the group something of the situation there. Internal struggles on the island of Guadalcanal had come to a head with armed conflict between two rival factions, one representing natives of Guadalcanal, the other made up of migrants from the nearby island of Malaita. The members of the Melanesian Brotherhood were interceding for peace in the conflict.

The Melanesian Brotherhood is a most interesting group in and of itself. Founded in 1925 by a Melanesian who wanted a religious order indigenous to his peoples. The Brotherhood kept the typical vows of poverty, chastity and obedience common to monks and nuns, but they did it in an atypical way as the norm was for these vows to be for a time and the brothers would later return to their homes, marry and raise a family. In this way, the Melanesian Brotherhood became salt to the south Pacific and added savor to the Christian experience of the islanders.

The Melanesian Brotherhood ChapelThe Brothers travel two by two, bare foot and with a staff in hand to spread the Gospel and to intercede as needed in prayer and in direct aid as well in a variety of situations. So when armed conflict came to Guadalcanal, it was natural that the brothers placed themselves into the situation. In May 2000, they sent a group to camp in the no man’s land between enemy lines. The letter they carried to both militant groups read in part,
In the name of Jesus Christ we appeal to you: stop the killing, stop the hatred, stop the payback. Those people you hate and kill are your own Solomon Island brother.
Then they stayed for four months in a no man’s land between armed and angry militants and forbade them in the name of God to advance from the barricades. Peace did come. But in the truce neither side disarmed. So by 2002, the Melanesian Brotherhood was working to collect weapons and dump them in the deep sea.

Harold Keke was the leader of the native Guadalcanal group. He refused to disarm and so while many individuals did turn over their weapons, neither of the two main factions did and the threat of violence loomed large. Three brothers were sent with a letter from Anglican Archbishop Ellison Pogo to Harold Keke. The militant leader was not in his camp. Two brothers left, but a third Nathaniel Sodo remained. He knew Keke’s brother and thought he could intercede and make a difference. Time passed. Sodo did not return. On Easter Day 2003, one of Keke’s men left the encampment, went to the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Company and said the Sodo had been killed.

members of the Melanesian Brotherhood with a boatAs rumors were run wild in those days, a group of six brothers was dispatched by boat to go to the Weathercoast, where Keke was encamped and to discover the truth and if need be to bring back Sodo’s body. Those six brothers did not return. It was during that wait for news that we began to pray in Kingsland. On August 9, the devastating news came around the world that all seven brothers had been killed by Keke’s men. We continued to pray for the Melanesian Brotherhood. Inexplicably I felt a strong connection through prayer to these peacemakers killed for their non-violent attempts to disarm their island.

The bodies were brought back and buried. The grief that poured out throughout the Solomon Islands brought an end to the conflict as Keke turned himself in. The Solomon Islanders would not associate themselves with those who would kill members of their beloved Melanesian Brotherhood.

Time passed. In the fall of 2004, I preached a sermon about the connectedness we share with other Christians. I used the writings of Brother Richard Carter, chaplain of the Melanesian Brotherhood and chief spokesman in the crisis. He had written eloquently of how the prayers of others around the world had kept them afloat in what seemed to be a sea of unbearable grief.

Two weeks ago as I opened mail at the Kingsland Post Office, there was a package from Brother Carter. It contained a copy of his book, In Search of the Lost, which tells of the experience of the brothers. A note told me that someone had shared my sermon with him after having run across it on the Internet. He wrote, “I am sending you a copy [of the book] with my very best wishes and deep gratitude for your prayers and that of your church at that time.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury visits the graves of the peacemakersThe letter closed the loop. I had been here praying with others, feeling like we were connected to this situation by our God who was present both to us and the members of the Melanesian Brotherhood. In writing and sending a book, Brother Carter showed that the connection forged between Guadalcanal and Kingsland was something unseen and yet somehow tangible. What connected was not the Internet. That was only the vehicle for God to reveal the connection that existed through prayer.

So many times we pray and never hear word of what has happened. Yet, we walk by faith and not by sight and trust that God not only hears our prayers, but desires that we pray as much for what those prayers do for us in connecting us to the needs of others as for what those prayers do for God.

(The Rev. Frank Logue is pastor of King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland. The text of the sermon referenced in this column is online at The Great Cloud of Witnesses)

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4/11/2007

More Holy Week and Easter Photos

New Fire at the Easter Vigil
I am testing using Flickr as a site to put more King of Peace photos. The latest scrapbook photos of Holy Week and Easter are now there including Palm Sunday, Passover, the Easter Vigil and Easter Day. The photos are online here: King of Peace's Flickr Photos

The photo above shows lighting the Paschal (or Easter) candle from new fire in the ancient beginning to Easter through the Easter Vigil worship service. The photo below shows the congregation hearing stories from the Old Testament read by candle light as the Easter Vigil service continued.

The Easter Vigil

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How do you welcome a sex offender?

Linda pointed out an article in The New York Times, Sex offenders test church's core beliefs. The test is for Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad, California. The church sign says "all are welcome," but how welcoming they are to sex offenders is an open question. The church's struggle came after a registered sex offender sent an email to the pastor saying that he was moving to the town and wanted to know if he would be welcome at the church. The pastor thought that by setting limits that the man would avoid children and always be escorted by an adult, the issue would not present a problem.

But the 300 member church had a variety of reactions including those who said, "If he stays, I leave," while others said "If he leaves, I leave." A member of the congregation who was molested as a child said, “But what do you say to one member who was abused for 10 years, several times a week? By welcoming one person, are we rescinding our welcome to some of the survivors among us, people in pain and healing, members of our family?”

Publicity over the church's dispute led to the sex offender losing his job and his housing. He is now homeless. The church is still working on a written policy and in the meantime, the sex offender can not worship at the church, but instead meets with a small group from the church.

What would we do here?
As a church with a lot of children in church and activities for kids including children's church and scouting, we certainly have policies in place to protect our children. I know that our church is safe in terms of what takes place at church.

I would not fear for our children if a registered sex offender wanted to come to worship. Obviously that person would never be allowed to work with children's church or Kids in the Kingdom or other children's ministries. There is a difference between forgiveness and hospitality and opening up a person to needless temptation. So, if someone came and worshipped that would be fine. Though I would find that given the high number of churches with low to no attendance by children, that there might be less problematic places to worship than King of Peace.

The real danger is not the known offender looking for a place to join others in worship. The danger is the person not known to be an offender. The one who acts perfect on church grounds and so engenders trust and then gains access to children away from church, with our policies and procedures.

Forgiveness starts this evening
Wrapped up in this issue are issues of forgiveness. What does it mean to forgive? Do you have to forget? Tonight from 7-8 p.m. we begin a study on the process of forgiveness. I'll lead the four sessions in which we will consider these questions and learn more about the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation, and none of it involves forgetting.

Questions
A couple of questions for y'all? Should the church have let everyone know the sex offender was coming to worship or just those in leadership? Should the church have been more welcoming or less?

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

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  • At 4/11/2007 9:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To answer the first question: Everybody in the congregation needs to know if there is a sex offender in their church. How would you feel if you walked into your place of worship, totally ignorant of this information and your beautiful child sat next to the offender to worship? Wouldn't that pose unnecessary temptation to the offender anyway?

    What if the offender couldn't resist temptation? There are too many opportunities available other than children's ministries for he/she to strike again.

    For example,(and my children have done this), during worship, your child leaves the worship area to get a drink of water or use the restroom. A few minutes later, the offender is tempted, sees an opportunity and does the same. What if the only people who know about this offender are church leaders, and they are too busy with the service to notice? Frightening!

    To answer the second question: Churches are full of families. Families are full of children. Forgiving a sex offender is one thing, but placing my family at risk in church is another. Home and church are the two environments where children should be safe and parents should feel confident that they are.

    Hmmmmm...it makes me wonder if we've been worshipping with a sex offender at our church, and nobody knows. This sheds a whole new light on the stranger and hospitality. But, is that our fault or that of the offenders in the first place?

     
  • At 4/11/2007 9:28 AM, Anonymous Linda+ said…

    This situation puts us all on the horns of a dilemma. Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them, but he knew who they were and he knew what they had done.

     
  • At 4/11/2007 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, put Linda. Jesus knew who he was eating with. As a mom who has used church members as babysitters, I need to know.

     
  • At 4/11/2007 5:32 PM, Blogger Robin D. said…

    The Evil One will use every opportunity to separate and harm us.

    Sometimes a simple question has several answers, good answers. I wish there was a simple solution to this one.

    As a pediatric health care provider I have helped to put away more than one sexual predator. One man was very tragic because predation ruled his life. He was a kind, helpful person on the outside. On the inside he was ruled by his obsession to prey on children. Like any predator he looked for the weak or unprotected.

    When he was captured and put on trial, I found myself pitying him. Yes, He was sorry he got caught. He also seemed to be genuinely contrite for the damage he caused. He seemed at a loss as to how to stop himself or to make up for it. At one point he asked to die.

    I truly do believe that God can remake people. I believe he forgives all sins, even the ones I can't. I wish for a heart that is not hard but I don't have it.

    In this "In Between" world we have to watch for predators. We beg for our own forgiveness even when we can't forgive others.

    I agree that for a sex offender to worship with us he would have to be known and be watched. That might be an unacceptable situation for some parents. I would have to support the parents in this case because they are legitimately protecting their children from threats. Protecting children IS God's Will.

     
  • At 4/17/2007 7:35 PM, Anonymous Gina said…

    Being one of the educators of the "Safeguarding God's Children" program for the diocese, I know that these are questions that are being raised in churches all over the country. Most sex offenders are never arrested or labeled which makes checking the registries inconclusive. I definitely believe that if a sex offender is registered in society he or she should also be registered in the church. I myself have found it difficult to break bread with many parishioners over the years, but we are expected to respect the dignity of all people. All people should be welcomed. If safeguarding policies are set up in churches, a sex offender who is coming to the church to gain access to children will leave and go somewhere else. A sex offender who is truly looking for a spiritual home will be willing to register himself in the church to protect the children and himself. Unfortunately, most sex offenders don't believe they have a problem.

     
  • At 12/23/2008 3:34 PM, Blogger Mykidsdad said…

    Let's put it into real perspective. 90% of offenders weren't convicted of child related offenses and of the 10% only 1% is considered high risk. Look one out of a hundred is still to high, but considering these offenders go through therapy, probation/parol then must even register all the time. The likelihood little sally or johnny going to be touched or even looked at is a stretch at best. If an offender comes out in the open in honesty he or she should be respected for it.
    Me? I'm a dad and a giver in the community. Got a program together to give back by helping the clients of my hair salon donate to a local children's hospital care packages for kids year around. Love even from me (a sex offender) can mean somethings.

     

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4/10/2007

The things we do understand

Over at the Questing Parson Blog, there is a post Easter conversation between the parson and an Atheist. The Atheist wants to know how the Parson, who he sees as a man of integrity, can preach about stuff like the resurrection which intelligent people don't believe. The Parson has no problem with the resurrection, but he points the man away from things about which he can't be sure and toward things agreed upon, but avoided:
“William the trouble with the Christian faith is not those supernatural things we don’t understand. The trouble with the Christian faith is the things we do understand.”

William stared at the parson. He leaned back in his chair for a moment. He straightened up the table a bit as both had finished their coffee and snack.

“The trouble is what you do understand? I don’t follow you,” said William.

“In our scriptures, William, a man came to Jesus and asked him ‘Master, what is the greatest commandment?’ Jesus answered him, ‘The greatest is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your mind and your soul.’ Now, William, I understand that. Do you?”

“Well, I understand what Jesus is saying there, sure.”

“Without any prompting, William, Jesus gave the man another commandment. He told the man, ‘The second is like unto it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Now I understand that, too, William. Do you?”

“Well, sure, parson. I understand that. What’s your point?”

“My point, William, is the problem with Christianity is in these things we have no possibility of not understanding. Our problem is in simple statements as this one. Jesus entire message was centered on this second greatest commandment, loving our neighbor as ourselves.”

“How’s that a problem?”

“Well, here’s where you’re going to find your old atheist soul is very similar to we Christians. It’s a problem, William, because we just don’t want to do it.”
The full text of the Parson's post is online here: The Problem with Christianity

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. This is the essence of Jesus' teaching. The rest is vitally important, but largely is also commentary on this simple to understand, hard to live out statement.

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4/09/2007

Remarkable

Hannah is baptizedHannah is baptized yesterday in worship

My UMC friend Jim sent me to the rudely named Church Marketing Sucks by way of a link at his blog The Greatest Story Ever Told. There I found the following about what makes a church remarkable:
I was watching a talk delivered by Seth Godin at Google, and he said something that was profoundly self evident.


"[Remarkable] doesn't mean beautiful or ideal or perfect. It only means one thing: Worth making a remark about."
Fundamentally, Christianity is viral. Aside from some extraordinary conversion experiences, it's Jesus Christ doing something that was worth talking about. Then His disciples were exposed to Him, and they did things worth talking about.

Is your church presenting Christ in a remarkable way? You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to be ideal. You don't have to be beautiful. But are you doing things that get the community talking? The world? Or are you just running aimlessly or yelling upwards into the sky?
So something is remarkable if people remark on it. Simple enough. The question this Week after Easter then is what has Jesus done in your life lately that is remarkable?

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4/08/2007

Easter!

Flowering the crossKids flower the cross during the opening hymn.

King of Peace's ensemble singThe King of Peace's Ensemble sang a medley.

Gary is baptizedGary is baptized. One of six baptisms.

Chris in the moon bounceKids still in the moon bounce well after worship.


338 people joined in worship this Easter at King of Peace among our three Easter services (with more than 250 on hand for the main Sunday worship service alone). But numbers aside, it was an awesome celebration of our Lord's resurrection.

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Christ is risen. Alleluia!

What follows, though brief is the most famous Easter sermon ever given. Preached by John Chrysostom (347-407) this Easter homily is still read every year in many Orthodox churches.
Let all pious men and all lovers of God rejoice in the splendor of this feast; let the wise servants blissfully enter into the joy of their Lord; let those who have borne the burden of Lent now receive their pay, and those who have toiled since the first hour, let them now receive their due reward; let any who came after the third hour be grateful to join in the feast, and those who may have come after the sixth, let them not be afraid of being too late; for the Lord is gracious and He receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes on the eleventh hour as well as to him who has toiled since the first: yes, He has pity on the last and He serves the first; He rewards the one and praises the effort.

Come you all: enter into the joy of your Lord. You the first and you the last, receive alike your reward; you rich and you poor, dance together; you sober and you weaklings, celebrate the day; you who have kept the fast and you who have not, rejoice today. The table is richly loaded: enjoy its royal banquet. The calf is a fatted one: let no one go away hungry. All of you enjoy the banquet of faith; all of you receive the riches of his goodness. Let no one grieve over his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed; let no one weep over his sins, for pardon has shone from the grave; let no one fear death, for the death of our Saviour has set us free: He has destroyed it by enduring it, He has despoiled Hades by going down into its kingdom, He has angered it by allowing it to taste of his flesh.

When Isaias foresaw all this, he cried out: "O Hades, you have been angered by encountering Him in the nether world." Hades is angered because frustrated, it is angered because it has been mocked, it is angered because it has been destroyed, it is angered because it has been reduced to naught, it is angered because it is now captive. It seized a body, and, lo! it encountered heaven; it seized the visible, and was overcome by the invisible.

O death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are abolished. Christ is risen and the demons are cast down. Christ is risen and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life is freed. Christ is risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power for ever and ever.

Amen.

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  • At 6/26/2007 8:49 AM, Blogger MICHAEL said…

    About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17]. God sent his Son into the world to reconcile us to Himself (Col 1: 20.) Jesus Christ came not to tell us the answer to the universal problem of evil, but to overcome evil, sin and death by His everlasting love. Division and dissension, hatred and fear, aggressive power and exploitation could be conquered only by a gentle, suffering love unto death. By freely sacrificing his human life in dying for us, Jesus in His humanity was raised to glory by His Father’s Spirit and is now able to live within us.

    Peace Be With You
    Micky

     

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4/07/2007

New Creation

At On Faith, the folks at Newsweek and The Washington Post have asked their panelists,
If the remains of Jesus had been definitively found, how would that change your view of Christianity?
The replies are online here: Remains of Jesus.

New Testament scholar and Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright says,
Christianity is about this creator God launching his project of new creation—transformed, now, so that death itself and all that contributes to it can no longer touch it—in and through the resurrection of Jesus, and continuing until the earth (not just heaven! THE EARTH) is filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

That began at Easter, continues in the life of faith, prayer and sacrament and the mission, in the widest and narrowest senses of the word, of the church, and will be complete when justice and mercy flood the whole creation.

Easter is the hinge on which all this turns, consequent upon the victory accomplished on the cross. Take Easter away, and we are at best like the first-century Jews, still hoping for redemption to happen but with no sign that it has just yet. And at worst we are back with some kind of paganism -- which is where, ultimately, the denial of resurrection will leave you.

Bodily resurrection is what you get at the intersection point between the lines of God as the good and wise creator and God as the judge who will set everything right at last.

Give up either, or both, and what you're left with isn't Christianity.
While scholar and noted author Marcus Borg writes,
Were the skeletal remains of Jesus to be indisputably identified, it would not matter to me. To think that the central meaning of Easter depends upon something spectacular happening to Jesus’ corpse misses the point of the Easter message and risks trivializing the story. To link Easter primarily to our hope for an afterlife, as if our post-death existence depends upon God having transformed the corpse of Jesus, is to reduce the story to a politically-domesticated yearning for our survival beyond death.

Thomas touches JesusRather, what mattered for his early followers was that they continued to know him as a living figure of the present after his death – not just during the forty days of appearances that the author of Acts mentions (Acts 1.3), but in the years and decades (and centuries) ever since. And to affirm, as Christians do, that the living presence of Jesus is Lord is to commit oneself to the story of Jesus as the central revelation of God’s dream for the world. It means to stand against the powers that killed him and to stand for the vision of God’s kingdom that he proclaimed.

Easter is both personal and political. The lordship of Jesus is the path of personal liberation from the lords of culture, and the affirmation of a very different kind of world. To lose this emphasis in a debate about what happened to the corpse of Jesus is to be distracted by the lords who killed him.
As for me, I will gather with others tonight at 7 p.m. to celebrate our first service of the resurrection this year with The Great Vigil of Easter. And tomorrow I will lead our worship at 8 and 10 a.m. knowing that the Lord is risen indeed!

peace,
Frank+
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

The start of the Easter Vigil
The start of an Easter Vigil service at King of Peace
as we use new fire to light the Pachal (Easter) candle

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