Wind Chimes: 22 Jan 2013 — Day 5

A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Readings for Day Five — Walking as the friends of Jesus

Song of Solomon 1;5-8 | Love and the beloved
Psalm 139: 1-6 | You have searched me out and known me
3 John 2-8 | Hospitality to friends in Christ
John 15:12-17 | I call you friends

Quote . . .To walk humbly with God does not mean walking alone. It means walking with those who are those vital signs of God‘s presence among us, our friends. “But I have called you friends.” says Jesus in John‘s Gospel. 2013-WPCU-Readings-and-Prayers

Prayer on Day Five

2013 Week of Prayer (Cover)

Jesus, from the first moment of our being you offered us your friendship. Your love embraces all peoples, especially those who are excluded or rejected because of human constructions of caste, race or colour. Filled with the confidence and assurance of our dignity in you, may we walk in solidarity towards each other, and embrace each other in the Spirit, as children of God. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.

divider lineImage: School of Theology & Ministry, Seattle University

Who showed hospitality?

Today the Church remembers Mary and Martha (and Lazarus in the Episcopal Church’s trial Holy Women, Holy Men calendar). Earlier today (7/29) I posted a link to a Jesuit site called Pray-as-you-go. The meditation offered for today (offered by the Jesuits) was on the Lucan text (Luke 10:38-42) describing Jesus’ visit to the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. In the meditation we are asked: “Who showed hospitality?”

It is a fair and decent question. It is a reminder that it is as valid a question as “Who chose the better part?” Asking about hospitality is a reminder that Jesus needed both Martha and Mary. Jesus needed the hospitality Martha extended and he needed Mary to listen as he told the Good News. Ever since that day in Bethany the Body of Christ (the Church) has needed faithful men and women to both listen to the Word and then do the Word/work in the world. So it is today. We need to constantly strive for a balance in our being (listening) and doing.

As a further meditation on Martha and Mary I’d like to introduce you to Shawna Atteberry (“Writer. Storyteller. Poet. Feminist Theologian. Episcopalian. Married with cat”) and her blog. She has posted her own research and meditation involving Martha and Mary: The New Testament Church: Built by homemakers like Martha.

What do you think about the “Church’s one foundation” calling upon women to build the home and care for the household? What do you find most attractive in this story of Martha and Mary and Jesus? What do you find least attractive? Leave a comment here. Read about the New Testament Church and leave a comment for Shawna. Let’s talk and listen to each other as we strive to hear the Spirit.

A House of Hospitality

When the new St. Margaret’s sanctuary was available for use in June 1989 The Rev. Brad Hall, Fourth Rector of St. Margaret’s,  preached a sermon, “Solomon’s Prayer: Our First Day in the New Church Building” (June 4, 1989), that we continue to live up to and into as a community.

Though speaking about the building itself and the entire St. Margaret’s community, Brad’s words give us a vision when spoken into our little community–The Sunday Morning Forum–within the larger community. We need to make our room and our presence match what the congregation does in the sanctuary in Sunday worship. Here is an excerpt of Brad’s sermon; hear that the Spirit is saying the same thing to us 22 years later:

God’s House is a House of Hospitality

This is truly a beautiful building, and people will come and visit it. Whether they are drawn here by its architectural majesty, its open, light-filled sanctuary, or to worship and pray, we must always be prepared to welcome and accept all sojourners and visitors who wish to enter our doors.

This is an Episcopal Church, a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion of over seventy million peoples. We are also a community church, a part of this Coachella Valley, and our church is a gift to all who live in their beautiful desert. And so the doors of our building and our hearts must be open to welcome, in God’s Love, all who come to us seeking peace, seeking an answer to their prayers, seeking God, Himself.

My final prayer for us is that your love and Christ’s Love will so shine through these doors and windows that all sojourners who come here seeking will find that their prayers will be answered and that God’s Peace and Joy will fill their hearts.

Note: the entire sermon will soon be posted in the Supplemental Resource category 6/7/11

The Rev. Lane Hensley, current Rector of St. Margaret’s, continues this fine tradition among us. In November 2010 Lane set out some principles for our ministry. Here is an excerpt to help guide our work in the Sunday Morning Forum, a community within a community:

Our collective task is to take our place as members of the Body of Christ, and to come collectively “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” Here, then, are some principles that I think need to guide that process.

We are a public Church, and a ministry leader in outreach, formation, music, and worship. Our efforts should be directed to the community we serve in mission, and their highest hopes, deepest fears, and most important deliberations should find home at St. Margaret’s.

We expect God’s blessing on our work, and to grow and be transformed into the Body of Christ.

Lane’s principles can be viewed or downloaded here: From the Rector’s Desk, November 2010

Let us be open and inviting to others in the spirit of Christ’s love as we build community. We have a fine vision and strong principles and God’s amazing grace guiding us along the Way.

Your thoughts and observations and questions are important. Please use the Comment section to continue the conversation.