Sunday, August 7, 2011

Reporting the News

Wow, I haven't blogged in a month. I didn't realize that it's been so long since I last posted some "news" here.

It's true that a fair amount has personally been going on for me in that time. I returned to New Jersey for a week and arranged for my household goods to be packed as well as began my "good-bye" process with friends and neighbors in Asbury Park and at St. George's By The River. My companion and I then traveled to Chautauqua for a "Brigadoon-like" week. We really had a wonderful time listening to terrific speakers such as David Ignatius and James Woolsey. Tony Campolo is a brilliant and humorous preacher. Alexander Gavrylyuk is probably the finest pianist that I've ever hear perform in person. Pink Martini is worth seeing if you ever get the chance as well. I loved all of it, especially when Howie+ and I were able to preside and preach with one another at Chapel of The Good Shepherd.

Then, it was time to come back to the "real world." I had a week where I wrapped up what has been a wonder-full, educational, and cherished time @ St. G's. There are people there that I'm sure I will not see again. Death happens regardless of where our vocations take us. There are other good and kind souls there that I pray I will spend more time with in the months and years to come. My last sermon in that place was heart-felt, emotional, and spoke of my hope that those Christians will continue to share Jesus Christ's gospel there. I love those people and believe that the Kingdom of Heaven will continue to be revealed there.

I next traveled to Cincinnati and towards my new call at St. James - Cincinnati. They are wonderful, friendly, and faithful Christians. Vacation Bible School (VBS) "Beach Blast" was a great success. I'm hopeful that that event is indicative of the energy and resources we're going to place upon our Sunday School and youth activities.
I can't wait to get started! My prayer is that we will feed people, neighbors, and one another even as God feeds us and beckons us to accomplish Christ's work, prayer, and play there. You should get to know and like these Episcopalians too, if you don't already.

Anyhow, that's most of my personal news; information that seems almost irrelevant in comparison to what's going on in the world around us. High Anxiety exists in the markets. Standard and Poors (S&P) has downgraded the U.S. debt despite a $2 Trillion dollar accounting error. The Cincinnati Reds were in a losing streak going into today's game. Seriously, the civil strife and war going on in the Middle East is very depressing. It is, as Howie+ alluded to this morning in his sermon at St. Peter's Episcopal Church - Peekskill, difficult to even pay attention to the headlines anymore.

Such indifference or denial however, does not make the headlines any less "real." The storms of life are as consequential for us as they were for the disciples in the boat on a scary early morning. Perhaps St. Peter provides us a worthwhile way to understand our best means for staying focused on what's happening, whether it be world news or personal transition. Reach out your hands to Jesus and don't be afraid to ask for help. It's impossible to avoid waves of chaos, tragedy, and desperation on the sea of mortal life. However, a person doesn't need to drown. The eternal and incarnational God is constantly present and supportive. Christians believe that Jesus Christ will never leave us "comfortless."

Belief in God, one another, and ourselves is perhaps the greatest virtue that we can possess, especially in times of ever-increasing unemployment, uncertainty, and insecurity. The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Kaeton blogged a few months ago: I know that the aphorism "If you always give, you will always have" sounds paradoxical, but I believe there is great wisdom in it. Furthermore, I believe this wisdom is the antidote - the 'honey' - to the caustic brew of fear and primal rage that have combined to pollute our cultural environment.

Giving is not only about charity. It's about letting go as well. It's about understanding that we have some degree of control over what's going on and about us. We don't always have a great deal of control though. We can't make our household goods show up exactly when we want or get the job that we've always desired. We should be grateful and generous when those events do occur. Moreover, We can believe and act as if God possesses a desirable, violence-free outcome for us and all who dwell on this planet. We can reach out our spiritual and physical hands to Jesus with the hope that he and his disciples will come to our aid. We should respond if and when we can when people seek our assistance.

The turbulent seas of life are not the end of life on this planet, at least not yet. I think that we need to set aside our fears as best as we can, climb out of the security of our boats albeit not by ourselves. There is work to be done, gifts to be shared, blessings to be received, and Jesus' eternally strong hands and heart to hold us, especially when we keep our faithful and hopeful eyes on his.

Blessings Along The Way (It's good to be back blogging :-))

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