Sermons & News
But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. (1 Thessalonians 3: 6)
NOTE: We are now open for in-person worship! Saturdays at 5PM and Sundays at 10AM. Please watch the video (above) for important information about our new protocols!
If you are able to bring school supplies to the church by Sunday, Aug. 20, please do so! They will be taken to the Christian Caring Center for families in need.
Beloved in Christ,
Yesterday, August 6th, is the day the Church celebrates the Feast of the Transfiguration (a date set by Pope Callixtus III in the 15th century). It is unfortunate that such a significant event in the life of Jesus is relegated to the middle of summer when it gets passed-by without much fanfare. Fortunately, the event is also remembered in our Lectionary on the Last Sunday of the Epiphany (the Sunday right before Lent starts), so we get a yearly reminder of God’s revelation on the holy mountain, where Jesus was transformed before the eyes of Peter, James and John in a blinding vision of the Risen Christ.
Yesterday also happened to be the 75th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. I thank our Bishop, The Rt. Rev. William "Chip" Stokes for drawing this occurrence to my attention. As he pointed out, that event also created a blinding bright light, but rather than bringing a message of hope and love, it brought a level of destruction and suffering previously unknown to humankind. The United States is the only country to have used this weapon in war; and we did it twice.
The convergence of these two events does offer us an opportunity for contemplation, reflection and discernment. I am a great believer in the understanding that if we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it, as we are – unfortunately – witnessing in this current pandemic. I am not naïve enough to believe that humans have "learned our lesson" about the disastrous consequences of using atomic weapons in war, and yet I hope and pray we will not ignore those lessons, even as the images fade with time. Those images of suffering need to be indelibly imprinted in our minds. And we cannot allow ourselves the convenient escape of time and distance to feel no connection with those that suffered. The victims did not look like I do, but that does not make them any less my sister or brother.
Indeed, I have as much "personal" connection with those that witnessed the Transfiguration as I do with those in Hiroshima, which means that we ARE connected as part of God’s creation. It would be more convenient for me to be able to choose who I think is worthwhile, but that denies our belief that everyone and everything has intrinsic value.
The same is true with this pandemic. As of today, almost 160,000 people have died from this virus, which can be understood as a small fraction of the world’s population OR as our loved one who we no longer see. Even if we do not personally know someone who has died, we have all been changed by this, and I pray that those changes will help us rather than hinder us. We can use this hard-won knowledge to be wary of our neighbor OR choose to use it for our common life, supporting each other even when it is not necessarily for our personal benefit.
When I look at the faces of those affected by the atomic bomb, I don’t see an enemy. I see scared, broken people looking for help and hope. I see that same look in the faces of overwhelmed medical staff, "front-line" workers and those who have lost a loved one. Those faces are not unknown to me. In the stark brightness of Christ, we are one. We cannot fix this situation by ourselves; we must support each other and act together.
So we pray for the strength and courage to face each day with the determination to love in the face of fear and hope in the face of discouragement. We must use what we know for our benefit and the benefit of our neighbors. We wear face masks and stay 6 feet apart. And if we are vigilant, the day will come when we won’t have to, and we will feel transformed!
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