The Very Rev. Ed McNeill
Matthew 15:10-28
24 mins 3 secs
Views: 92
Winston Church Hill famously said “Never, ever ever ever ever give up.” Persistence is an important part of any great achievement. Few great accomplishments occur without effort that has to press through problems. Persistence is also an import aspect of Faith. In this week's Gospel Jesus responds to a persistent mother and gives her what she seeks. On Sunday I will be reflecting on this week's Gospel and my own faith experience as I begin the slow work of planting a church in Hawaii. - Fr. Ed
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 14:22-33
16 mins 47 secs
Views: 95
This week, we read of Elijah trying explain to God his very reasonable plan of hiding in a cave indefinitely due to really difficult circumstances; and the Lord shows him more extreme circumstances and sends him on his way with a new plan. Peter is in a boat with the other disciples and sees Jesus walking past them on water in a storm, and his reasonable plan is to demand that Jesus prove that he is the Lord. Jesus does so by ordering Peter to get out the boat, into the storm, and also to walk on water. Peter gets it partly right, but is not actually ready to follow through on the plan he started. There is a saying: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Sometimes, it is hard to hear God and it feels like we are thwarted on all sides. Other times, the word of God is on our very lips, in our hearts and in our lives as we proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior. Sometimes is it His plans which we are following and all the pieces come together to call and equip us to do more than we can by ourselves.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 14:13-21
14 mins 50 secs
Views: 91
The Lord’s provision is not skimpy or thin. It is not for only a small select few, or only for certain groups of people. God first made a covenant with Israel, that they would be his people; but he also made them to be light to nations they didn’t even know. In our Gospel reading, Jesus has compassion on the crowds and heals when he wants to be alone. And when they are hungry, he takes what is small and insufficient, and multiplies it until the whole crowd is fed. The compassion and provision of the Lord is indeed great. Like the disciples, like the Israelites, as the people of God, we are the instrument of his grace, compassion and provision for people that we don’t yet know.
This week, we have an amazing collection of readings, from the wisdom of Solomon, to the psalmist’s love of God’s word, to the Spirit interceding for us according to the will of God, to the parables that describe the Kingdom of God as precious, hidden and growing, in stories of mustard seeds, pearls, and leaven hidden in flour. What we have and what we seek and what we grow into in this new life in Christ is absolutely amazing. God provides what we need to accomplish His will, even shaping us into instruments of his grace and love. Come join us this Sunday as we worship and learn and find healing and fellowship in the Body of Christ. In the meantime, I invite you to read and dwell on our scriptures appointed for this week: 1 Kings 3:5-12 Psalm 119:129-136 Romans 8:26-39 Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
This Sunday’s Gospel carries on from last week’s parable of the sower and describes God’s patience with us. This is the foundation of our patience with one another and with those whom we love and pray for. The gospel also helps us to remember not to confuse patience with approval. Still the biggest message is patience. There is also in this gospel a strong basis for church planting, and a peak into my motivation to move to Hawaii. - Fr. Ed
This weeks gospel is one of my favorite passages --The parable of the sower. It is one of eight parables that appear in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is one that Jesus took time to explain to his disciples. The Gospel of Mark is only 16 chapters long and this parable occupies half a chapter! Simply put, this parable is central to Jesus' teaching. In the book I am taking forever to write, this parable will have it's own chapter. This parable is about faith and offers important insights into the nature of faithfulness. I hope you will come and worship at St. James and reflect with me on the nature of faith. - Fr. Ed
In this week's Gospel, Jesus compares the religious leaders of the day to children in the market shouting and complaining that other people won't care and respond the way they want them to. It reminds me of some of the threads I've read on social media. Most people want to be good moral people, but in a sea of competing, conflicting, inconsistent world views, pleasing everyone is a hopeless endeavor. Someone will always be disappointed in you, someone will always be judging you. In response, Jesus invites us to be yoked with him... to hear and follow one voice, one heart, one love.
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 10:24-39
9 mins 5 secs
Views: 91
When we become a Christian, we accept the forgiveness and the lordship of Jesus Christ. The forgiveness frees us to live a life of joy and peace and to experience the love of God. Accepting the lordship of Christ means choosing to follow him; allowing God to reshape our hearts, our minds, our priorities, passions, and dreams. We choose to use our life and our voice for the Kingdom of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, amazing things are accomplished. But the mighty works of God do come at a cost. This week we have dramatic readings about the cost of following the Lord: Jeremiah for whom the word of God becomes a fire in his bones if he does not speak it… The Psalmist recounting how he has been rejected by all for his worship of God… Paul, teaching about how our old self is crucified with Jesus, so the we may no longer be slave to sin… and the challenging words of Jesus to his disciples: Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
The Rev. Cindy Stansbury
Matthew 28:16-20
15 mins 23 secs
Views: 100
After the excitement of Pentecost, and the coming of the Holy Spirit poured out on all the disciples, with wind and flame, and in our case, baptism… this week we turn to the complexity of the Trinity. This is one of the most difficult and yet most central doctrines of Christianity. Trying to understand it fully is like trying to carry the ocean in a bucket. There are some who would like to diminish by calling it a post-canonical innovation, but this week we look at three of the readings which support this complex but important revelation of God. We also hear the Great Commission in this week’s Gospel reading, and it is all the more important to know the triune God in whom we baptize and make disciples.