The Holy Spirit: Calling out a great cadence

“Will you strive for justice and peace in the world? I will, with God’s help.” –From our Baptismal Covenant

“Green isn’t a fad. We’re not drawn to it because it’s hip. We are called to advocate for the Earth out of a deep sense of love and respect. Love for the generations that we will never know. Respect for the soil that we came from. We are from dirt; and to dirt we will return. (You can quote us – and Genesis – on that.) –Ashley Graham-Wilcox, in Spreading the seeds of eco-justice a reflection on her learning in the Eco-Justice Immersion Experience sponsored by Episcopal Leadership Institute for Young Adults.

Wild Goose LogoThe title of the Sunday Morning Forum (and this blog) is chosen for a purpose: we intend to hear what the Spirit is saying. We intend to hear the Spirit in the readings appointed for Sunday and in the stories of our lives (individually and communally as parishioners and friends of St. Margaret’s in Palm Desert). We intend to hear the Spirit in the news we read or hear and as we listen to the stories of other men and women of faith interpreting the news by their words and actions.

I hear the Spirit leading me, leading us (the people of St. Margaret’s), further along the path of justice and peace in fulfillment of our Baptismal Covenant. Consider:

To respond to the needs of our constantly changing communities, as Jesus calls us, in ways that reflect our diversity and cultures as we seek, wonder and discover together.
To prepare for a sustainable future by calling the community to become guardians of God’s creation

  • Our Rector’s vision that “Justice is at the heart of what God expects us to do and be: “[God] has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8 from The Rector’s Desk, November 2011
  • The ongoing work of the St. Margaret’s Outreach Center feeding the hungry and offering the companionship and comfort of our faith to those who struggle

This month our Outreach Commission initiated a prayer service for healing at the Outreach Center and launched a PB&J Ministry to help feed the hungry The October 2011 View

  • In August 2011 young Episcopalians (like Ashley) gathered in Seattle to encourage each other to lead folks like you and me to a sustainable future—as a matter of faithful living in the Reign of God

Ashley’s reflection is straight forward and gives me great hope

  • In September 2011 our bishops asked that every Episcopalian

   … take steps in our individual lives, and in community, public policy, business, and other forms of corporate decision-making, to practice environmental stewardship and justice, including (1) a commitment to energy conservation and the use of clean, renewable sources of energy; and (2) efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and whenever possible to buy products made from recycled materials  Read The Bishops’ Pastoral Teaching

  • This summer our Vestry decided to go forward with a solar energy project for the parish (and the community)

Hear what the Spirit is saying? IT SOUNDS LIKE THE SPIRIT IS SHOUTING.

Pay attention!Which leads me to remind you and encourage you to encourage our Forum member, Sherry, and our Deacon Cherry Remboldt, who are advocating for our parish-wide use of Fair Trade coffee and compostable cups in our fellowship. This is a small step, to be sure, “to practice environmental stewardship and justice” using the words of our bishops, but it’s a step in the right direction.

As I write, Cherry and Sherry are helping the Outreach Commission sort through the costs and logistics of this move which, of course, will put us in step with our Baptismal Covenant, our Charter for Lifelong Christian Formation, our Rector’s vision for our parish, the work of our Young Adult Leaders, our bishops’ recent Pastoral Teaching (and invitation), our ongoing work for justice and peace as we serve others (for the love of God) in our community, and our commitment to build a sustainable future (our vestry’s vision—right in line with the vision of our bishops—as we take up a solar energy project).

Let’s stay in step with the Spirit who is calling out a great cadence for us.

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.

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