The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 5:21-37
11 mins 17 secs
Views: 91
We live in a very political time in which rights, legalities, roles, and loopholes occupy our news cycles and our nation's attention. These topics are never really very far from people's minds most of the time as life inevitably involves them. In this week's Gospel, Jesus challenges this very human focus with a teaching that shifts our attention from such peripheral concerns to the heart of our relationship with God. If we approach God through a filter of rights, legalities, roles and loopholes, we will never escape a focus on ourselves in order to appreciate that God is God and we are not. Please join me this week as we continue our "pivot" towards lent and do a little spiritual spring cleaning. -Fr. Ed
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 5:13-20
15 mins 40 secs
Views: 95
This Sunday's reading from the Sermon on the Mount reminds us that being a Christian involves mission. We are salt and light in the world. Jesus doesn't say that we can become salt and light but that we are salt and light. It's not optional. What is an option is whether we are salt that has not lost its flavor or light that is hidden. This week I had opportunity to tell the story of how God gave us buildings. I rarely tire of telling the story. It's a light that shines and reveals God's Glory. It also reminds me at a very deep level that all that we do at St. James is an act of stewardship and worship. Stewardship because all that we have is a gift of God and worship because what we seek to do is give God Glory. This Sunday I will reflect on Salt and Light and the privilege of worship.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 5:1-12
13 mins 8 secs
Views: 90
This week’s readings are a powerful summary of God’s call on us to live righteously. Please read them not as fodder for guilt, but as a clear image of who we are called to become by the grace and forgiveness of the crucifixion and the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to live in truth, mercy, and justice, as peacemakers, in humility before God, following not the wisdom of men, but the crucified Son of God. As you have time this week, I invite you to consider and contemplate the core of our readings: He has told you, O mortal, what is good;... Micah 6:8 O LORD, who may abide in your tent? .... Psalm 15 “For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, ... but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles....” 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-25 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven..... Matthew 5:3-10
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 4:12-23
12 mins 14 secs
Views: 83
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.” This week we are still celebrating the coming of a great light, The Great Light, into a world previously cast into darkness. The Light of the World, the Lamb of God, the Redeemer, has come to Israel, has called to the fishermen of Galilee, and has brought the kingdom of heaven near. In our gospel this week, John has been arrested and Jesus has begun his ministry by calling the disciples out of their previous livelihoods, healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom.
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
John 1:29-42
15 mins 21 secs
Views: 80
There are moments in life when you know something wonderful has begun. Something mysterious that needs to be lived out to discover all of the wonderfulness that awaits. A great beginning and an epic journey. In this Sunday's Gospel, the Apostle Andrew, brother of Simon, knows he is at such a beginning and brings his brother along as well. He knew he had found the Messiah. The Christ. He knew it even though he had no idea what following Jesus would entail. Join us this Sunday as we reflect on the joy and wonder of following Jesus. -Fr. Ed
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 3:13-17
21 mins 33 secs
Views: 79
When Jesus is baptized, he hears the voice of God speaking from heaven, affirming that He is beloved and God is well-pleased. The voice of God, which also breaks cedars, shakes the wilderness, causes oaks to whirl and flashes forth flames of fire… that voice. As dramatic as the baptism of Jesus was, it was also only the beginning of his ministry; it was the beginning of his call to transform history, our hearts, and the ownership of this world. Likewise, our baptism is the beginning of our ministry, the beginning of our living out the call of God on our lives for his Kingdom. But we generally expect and perhaps hope for a gentler version of the Voice of God.
It's mind blowing! Ok, so I couldn't resist. An epiphany alters our perceptions on a core level. We are never quite the same after an epiphany. For example once you understand that God loves you and wants you to live for eternity much of the urgency goes out of our various appetites and needs. Life just never feels quite as desperate again. An epiphany is mind blowing. So this year we will celebrate the season of "Blown Minds" (no not really. Just kidding) and begin this Sunday with the feast of The Epiphany. Much is revealed. Lives are changed. God is very involved. Don't miss it. -Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
John 1:1-14
10 mins 47 secs
Views: 81
This week, we celebrate the tipping point of human history. The night the world both natural and supernatural irrevocably changed. God became man and dwelt among us. The Word became incarnate and humbled himself to be human, infant, dependent, and adored. In the relentless rush of time, there was a moment when the obedience and labor of Mary, the care of Joseph, the song of angels, and adoration of shepherds all focused on the One who brings salvation, peace and true hope to the entire world.
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 1:18-25
13 mins 23 secs
Views: 81
When God calls, do not be afraid. What lies ahead may indeed be inconvenient, often terrifying, and personally costly. But it will also be glorious. In Sunday's Gospel from Matthew, we hear how God guided Joseph to take Mary as his wife despite her pregnancy. We hear what this child shall be named and what purpose the child would fulfill. Joseph and Mary are models of faithful obedience. They are preeminent among the Saints and role models for us to emulate. This Sunday we will celebrate God's activity and guidance in Jesus' Incarnation and reflect on ways we, like Joseph, may say yes to God. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 11:2-11
14 mins 39 secs
Views: 79
This Sunday, we are waiting. It’s the third Sunday of Advent and we are waiting both for Christmas and for the second coming of Christ. Both for a day of rejoicing with gifts and family or friends, and a time when the brokenness, suffering, poverty and injustice of this world is replaced with the joy, healing and reconciliation of God’s full redemption of the earth. And they both seem to be coming both too quickly for the work to be done in time, and too slowly. In our epistle we read: “Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.” James 5:7-8 And in our Gospel reading we have John the Baptist in prison sending emissaries to Jesus in a fit of impatience : "Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?" Matthew 11:3. Sometimes our expectations blind us to what God is really doing in our midst, and we need to practice the discomfort of patience while persevering in the work that is set before us.