Sunday, January 27, 2013

Epiphany 3C

Today we had our annual meeting at Trinity Church (Jeffers). Consequently, I found myself looking at the day's lessons in the light of what we might need or want to focus on, as a parish, in 2013. Interestingly, the lessons (which generally are not related to each other thematically) actually worked well together. You can find the sermon here:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Epiphany 2 - What God Can Do

Fr. Keith addresses Jesus' first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. The important thing to remember, says Jesus: Faith is not about our limitations, but about God's infinite capacity to meet and exceed our needs.

The Sermon can be found here:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Enter the Magi

On the Feast of the Epiphany, I examined the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child and spent some time discerning what we can learn from them about our own faith journey.

The sermon can be found here:

Making a Kinder World

Life is NOT about getting what you want … Life IS about sharing more of what you already have. – Steve Dropkin

There is a prayer where we confess we have done things we ought NOT to have done, and where we have failed to do things we ought TO have done.

Isn’t that the human condition? We know for the most part what we ought to be doing (loving God and neighbor, taking care of business, being honest, kind, and gentle, and so on), and we mostly do those things, for being good really is a big part of our character (if we have any character), and being good really doesn’t take much effort.

It doesn’t take a lot of thought to tell the truth. In fact, when we tell the truth we don’t have to devote much memory space to remembering our lies and to whom we told them. So, even if telling the truth might be a bit awkward (“Yes, I forgot to pick up that birthday card while I was at the store”), it beats trying to remember any lie you would tell to explain away your omission.

It doesn’t take much energy to be kind, either. When driving down Main Street, it doesn’t slow the rotation of the earth to stop and let someone back out of their parking space. Providing a safe cushion in which others may back out “blind” potentially saves money, time, and trouble in the long run. That makes it worth the effort in my book.

So what keeps us from doing the right thing every so often? If we are able to do them most of the time, why don’t we do those things “all” of the time?

Part of the problem, I suspect, is thoughtlessness. I don’t mean “thoughtless” as a character defect as much as I mean there are times we simply don’t pay attention to what’s going on. I don’t listen to the radio when I am in the car or truck (for the most part), but I do find myself deep in thought, and that takes my mind away from my primary task – driving.

When I am driving down Main Street, I’m not looking to be kind; I am thinking about what I need to get at the store, or what I need to do when I get to the church. My mind is everywhere but on the road, and so I miss opportunities to “make a difference” and I run the very real risk of having a mishap, instead!

Another issue that keeps us from living up to our kind and gentle potential is a matter of ego. We tend to want what we want when we want it, and we often filter out the needs, desires, and perspectives of those whose goals and plans may thwart our own. Consequently, sometimes we trample on others, not out of ill-will, but simply because we don’t think of ourselves as being part of a community where sharing is an important component. We don’t think in terms of “we” but of “me.”

Again, it’s not our fault we think that way; it is simply part of the fabric of our being human. We cannot deny the ego (or that we have one), but we can make efforts to reign it in and remember that there are others with whom we must learn to get along if we are going to make our world a better place.

To say we have not done so well in being all we can be is the first step to being honest with God and ourselves. It is a step away from ego and toward humility – which simply stated says, “I am not God, so I can’t do everything, but I am human, so there are things I can do. I think I will.

Being thoughtful and humble will likely make this a better world. I think I will see what I can do along those lines in 2013. But if you’re backing out on Main Street, I suggest you still do so cautiously, for God ain’t done with me yet in this, our valley.