The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 3:1-12
14 mins 16 secs
Views: 83
This Sunday is the Second Sunday in Advent and our Gospel is from Matthew 3. If you are reading the Gospel of Matthew as an Advent discipline you will have already read Matthew's description of John the Baptist and his prophetic ministry. It's stunning in the blunt way prophets often are. Prophetic words have a way of sliding under or around our sense of self and landing home with greater impact than is comfortable. They help us clear the cobwebs of our spiritual life and see more clearly the reality we live within. They help us get real by shining light on our self deceptions and personal bargains. The journey into God is a journey into reality and marked with many moments of getting real. This Sunday as we continue to get ready St. John challenges us to get real. -Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 24:36-44
11 mins 4 secs
Views: 87
Happy Thanksgiving! In a few days we will celebrate Christian New Years otherwise known as Advent 1. We begin our new year with a celebration of our hope that Jesus will come again in glory and judgment. This age will be brought to a sudden close and the new creation will be ushered in. Justice and mercy shall reign. Suffering and pain will end and the company of saints will get their new bodies in a new creation. There will be no business as usual. Now we live awaiting a new day in the early light of dawn patiently awaiting the sun's full rise. Its time to be ready.
Every year we come around to Christ the King Sunday I find myself humming campfire songs from the 10 years I helped run summer camps in Alberta. "King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Glory Alleluia!" Fun times. Now a little older I approach this Sunday with more awe, wonder, and gratitude. Awe and wonder because I ever more clearly understand the world we see is not the world we live in. The world we live in includes what we see but also the "unseen" mentioned in our Creed. We live in a spiritual world just as real as the physical one we see. Gratitude that our Lord Jesus is more patient with us than we often are with ourselves. Judgement comes to us all but we have this time to live into the real world where Jesus is Christ the King. Please join with me this Sunday as we come towards his throne. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 21:5-19
11 mins 9 secs
Views: 81
It's time to put down our internet news, our TV remote, our radio and paper for a few minutes and pick up this week’s scripture; to take our eyes off the drama, name calling, blaming, relief, disbelief, confusion, and gloating of the election and look into the eyes of our Savior. It is possible to be hated, misunderstood, falsely accused, and mocked and still respond in love; just look at our Savior on the cross. It is possible to meet the broken, the wounded, the fearful, and the outcast, and those acting like toddlers, and bring healing, mercy and grace; just look at the life of our Savior. The drama of this election and the various reactions to it are very small in comparison to what this week’s gospel prepares us to face, and small indeed to what other Christians in the world today are facing. All of this is temporary, but it is also opportunity to practice loving those who disagree with us, in preparation for proclaiming the gospel in word and deed to others who may someday want to arrest and kill us because of His name.
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Luke 20:27-38
11 mins 47 secs
Views: 80
On Sunday we celebrate the hope we have in Christ and the foretaste of Glory that we experience now. We will give thanks for all the saints, known and unknown, who have gone before us and whose examples encourage us to faithfulness. Our Gospel reading is the Beatitudes in Luke. What does it really mean to be blessed or happy? Why does Jesus intend for us in hearing these words? What reorientation is intended for us? Sometimes English really fails to convey the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew. All this and more on Sunday. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 19:1-10
15 mins 35 secs
Views: 83
This week, we continue to follow Jesus towards Jerusalem into Jericho, where in the midst of thronging crowds eager to see him, Jesus chooses an outcast in a tree to have the honor of hosting him for dinner. And once again, rest of the town questions his spiritual and social discernment. But the priorities of Jesus are different than the priorities of the religious elite. He has come to seek and save the lost. And Zacchaeus is more than a caricature, he is a man whose life reflects true repentance, and an answer to the question asked after the question of the rich young ruler… “who then can be saved?
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Luke 18:9-14
15 mins 28 secs
Views: 90
As I read this week's Gospel I found my self humming "Clowns to the left of me! Jokers to the right! Here I am stuck in the middle with you." These lyrics were written by Bob Dylan who recently won a Noble Prize for Literature. In this week's Gospel, Jesus points out a way to be unfaithful while appearing faithful. He addresses those who have obedience dialed in and yet are still lacking. I imagine Jesus' sighing as he prepared to tell this week's parable and expect he enjoys Bob Dylan's music. This Sunday I'll reflect on all this and share a spiritual practice that helps us balance our faith. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 18:1-8
13 mins 34 secs
Views: 81
Sunday is approaching and I am still wrestling with this week’s Gospel. Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and tells the parable of the widow and the unrighteous judge to his disciples. We are told this is a parable about the need to be persistent in prayer, but it seems to leave many questions unanswered. Our holy and loving Father is not an unrighteous judge, and yet our prayers sometimes still seem to be unheeded. He promises to give justice to his people and not long delay. Thousands of faithful Christians in Africa and Middle East are crying out to him, and yet justice in this world is intermittent at best. Are we just not persistent enough, not patient enough, or praying for the wrong outcomes? And then there is the zinger at the end… “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Where do we find the persistence of the widow, to keep praying with faithfulness?
The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Luke 17:11-19
12 mins 9 secs
Views: 52
This Sunday's Gospel is Luke's account of Jesus' healing of ten lepers. One comes back to offer praise and thanksgiving. The other 9 were no doubt thankful, but they didn't come back. The one who did come back wasn't even Jewish. He was a Samaritan. Jesus is impressed with his response. He chose to return. His new normal began with Jesus and is centered on Jesus. The others were also blessed with a healing but chose another new normal. Being a disciple of Jesus involves a daily choosing of where our normal is centered. A profound religious experience isn't a guarantee of staying centered on God. King Solomon had two conversations with God and turned away in his old age. Jesus fed 5,000 and many followed looking for more bread. This Sunday I'll be exploring this week's Gospel and what is says about choosing a new normal. I hope you will join me in this reflection. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Luke 17:5-10
12 mins 4 secs
Views: 171
The disciples want an increase of faith so that they might have hearts to forgive others as many as seven times a day. That’s a lot of faith. Or is it really about the quality of faith they already have. Faith is a word with many aspects. Five major ones. Belief, Trust, Hope, Perseverance, and Obedience. Jesus answers their request for an increase in faith with an invitation to increase their obedience and see themselves as servants of God. Indeed a humble heart is a heart with an ability to forgive.