Wind Chimes: 5 Mar 2013

The wind in kind of different today. It’s a prophetic sound in the chimes today. What do you hear?

“Unless you repent …” a sermon to consider

Pilate, that tyrant, has killed some Galileans at worship, a tower has collapsed in Siloam and killed 18, folks around Jesus at the time asked him to comment, and he did, but it wasn’t what they expected. Jesus’ final words of comment includes this gem, “unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.” Michael K. Marsh, an Episcopal priest serving in the Diocese of West Texas, opens up these words of Jesus and gives us much to think about and then, quoting one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, poses a question to us.

A couple of excerpts:

Imagine that one day you call or come by the office to tell me that your son is getting a divorce, that your best friend has just been diagnosed with cancer, that your mom has died, or your husband just lost his job. You would not be happy if my response was, “Unless you repent….” Your next phone call or visit would probably be with Bishop Lillibridge. “Can you believe what he said? How could he say that to me? What are you going to do about this?”

Let’s just be honest about this. Jesus’ words are not all that helpful. They offer no consolation, explanation, or comfort. “Unless you repent…” is not we want to hear. Sometimes, however, it is what we need to hear. Today’s gospel is not about pastoral care. Jesus, to state the obvious, is not acting as a pastor. He is being pure prophet.

Find out what else Michael said. Discover the question being posed by Jesus now coming to us in the poetry of Mary Oliver. I definitely commend Michael’s words as we journey through Lent. PLEASE, read the entire sermon Tyrants Act and Towers Fall, Choose Life (Luke 13:1-9) by  Michael K. Marsh. And, yes, answer Michael’s question for the glory of God and the welfare of God’s people.

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Wind Chimes: 13 Dec 2012

Clean water: part of the effort of Foundation Cristosal in El Salvador

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

Perhaps the chimes are as persistent as John the Baptist, singing to us to turn around, change direction, find and go toward the music. What do you hear?

Repentance

In our ‘Spiritual Day Hike’ at St. Margaret’s (Palm Desert) yesterday we talked about repentance, among other things. It turns out we, who have participated in many a Bible study and have sat through many a sermon, are good students and seekers. More importantly, each of us could report continuing efforts, even daily efforts, to re-turn to the Lord.

Our wide ranging musings and reports accord well with the succinct description in the Oxford Companion to the Bible:

Repentance: Sincere contrition, involving acknowledgment of wrongdoing in the sense of both admitting guilt and feeling guilty […] remorse must be accompanied by resolve to cease doing wrong and do what is right […] In biblical idiom, the sinner is called on to “circumcise the heart” (Deut. 30.6; Jer. 4.4), “wash the heart” (Jer. 4.14), or become “single‐hearted” (Jer. 32.39); to make a new heart (Ezek. 18.31), a heart of flesh, not stone (Ezek. 36.26)

Such feelings and behaviors, we agreed, are developed one day at a time, one experience at a time. It was encouraging to me (and I believe each of us ‘on the hike’) to hear of triumph and failure and resolve to do better each day. ~dan

It is part of our Baptismal Covenant

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? — “I will with God’s help.”

A promise we make to God and to each other in our Baptismal Covenant.

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Foundation Cristosal —  “We are a faith-based organization of Anglican roots dedicated to human rights and community development work in El Salvador. We partner with people and organizations from diverse philosophical, religious, and political backgrounds to accompany the Salvadoran people in the construction of a just society.” (Home Page Welcome and Introduction)
  • A personal testimony from Ms. Alexandra Howard a member of St. Paul’s Cathedral in San Diego.

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: Foundation Cristosal

Wind Chimes: 10 Dec 2012

U-turn OK

John went into all the region around the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins …

Luke 3:3 NRSV

How often the chimes sound a call to action. Not like a bugle call, but rather softer, like an invitation rather than a demand. What do you hear?

John, a voice in the wilderness

John’s proclamation, his call to a “baptism of repentance,” is God-focused. It is a call to re-turn to the Lord we have come to love. We are asked to leave the distraction of mountain top and valley and meandering path and travel with intention and directness into God’s immense love.

Through daily examination and “repentance” we keep our focus and walk with directness and strength. I imagine that Marian Wright Edelman “proclaims” in the same manner John did. Let her prayer be your prayer on your journey. ~dan

God did not call us to succeed

God did not call us to succeed,
God called us to serve.

God did not call us to win,
God called us to work.

God did not call us to live long,
God called us to live for Him.

God did not call us to be happy,
God called us to be hopeful.

God did not call us to fame,
God called us to faith.

God did not call us to seek power,
God called us to seek peace.

God did not call us to loot the earth and each other,
God called us to love our earth and each other.

O God take our tiny acorns of service and turn them into towering oak trees of hope.

Marian Wright Edelman in Guide my feet, p. 118

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Links to online Advent Calendars

Each of these has a different approach. Find one that helps you “prepare the way.” Find one that helps you focus on God as you make your way into the loving arms of God.

Trinity Wall Street Online Advent Calendar

Busted Halo Online Advent Calendar

CREDO Online Advent Calendar

“Black Friday” began the “Shopping Season” and retailers are relentless in keeping us focused on buying often and buying more. “#GivingTuesday” (11/27/12) was an invitation to give and use our “buying power” in a way that benefits others for more than just a day.

I intend to keep that invitation in front of us throughout the “Shopping Season.” I believe  that It is always the right time to be generous. If you haven’t participated in “#GivingTuesday” how about today? ~dan

Today’s give-a-gift-to-help-others idea:

  • Feed the Children —  which is “a Christian, international relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to individuals, children and families who lack these essentials due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster.”  (Feed the Children Mission Statement)

Looking for other give-a-gift-to-help-others ideas?
Go first to Charity Navigator for those ideas
and for an evaluation of how your dollars will be spent

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Image: source not known

Are you ready for another timely word?

Words are important. We use a lot of words in the Sunday Morning Forum. We hear a lot of words—from scripture and from each other. In Sunday’s Gospel account (12/4/11) we heard that John “appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4. Once again the SSJE brothers give us a word:

REPENTANCE

“Repentance is one of the essential words of the Scriptures. It’s found on the lips of the prophets, it’s found on the lips of John the Baptist, and it’s found on the lips of Jesus himself…. We’re almost programmed to expect words like hellfire and brimstone to follow, and sometimes they do, but we can’t avoid it or do without because it is one of our essential words—and practices.”

-Br. Kevin Hackett via Brother, Give Us A Word a ministry of the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) in Boston, MA (members are also known as “The Cowley Fathers”)

More on the word:

Repentance: A change of mind or behaviour; this may be attributed even to God in OT (1 Sam. 15: 11). It was demanded of the people whose repentance was often merely formalized in cultic actions and as such condemned by prophets as inadequate and empty (Amos 4: 6; Hosea 6: 4; Isa. 1: 10–17) and without the radical change demanded by the Law. The hope lay in the possibility that one day God would give his people a new heart (Ezek. 36: 26–31) and there would be forgiveness to all who repented (Isa. 1: 18–19). In the NT repentance is called for by John the Baptist (Matt. 3: 9–10) and is to be validated by baptism. The call is repeated by Jesus (Luke 5: 32) and sometimes Paul (e.g. Rom. 2: 4) and in Rev. (2: 5).

“repentance.” In A Dictionary of the Bible. , edited by W. R. F. BROWNING. Oxford Biblical Studies Online http://www.oxfordbiblicalstudies.com/article/opr/t94/e1610 (accessed 07-Dec-2011).