Sunday, October 28, 2007

Treasures in the Attic

This week we had the official beginning of the search for money for the capital funds campaign at COOS. What better way to start than a 20 minute stem winder tracing Charlie's life history of giving. I wonder if people were tipped off on the subject matter by the 8:00 o'clockers, because it looked like a "low Sunday" crowd for the 10:30 service. Most Church activities start with a high level of participation which gradually dwindles (witness the Eucharistic Visitor program which needed a call for volunteers today). This is the nature of Church programs. I hope the capital campaign does not follow this pattern. If it does, we will be left praying to find treasures in the attic as Charlie described today where someone found an autographed baseball worth $300,000. He was wrong about Mel Ott's signature being on that ball because he played for the Giants and not for the 1927 Yankees.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Call to Equal Sacrifice

This Sunday we did not hear a sermon, but instead heard 3 testimonials about what it means to be a member of the Church of Our Saviour, and we watched a rather slick video using a cast of 15 or so with a few choice sound bites to try to tickle our wallets out of $925,000 (note the gradual drop in the advertised goal).

One of our fearless reporters caught the Capital Campaign committee using a coined marketing slogan, "Not equal giving, but equal sacrifice." This is not a new slogan. One web search for this phrase returned some 3.5 million hits. Our reporter questioned how to make an equal sacrifice if different people value things differently. I always think of giving blood as an equal sacrifice because a true sacrifice is made from what is needed to live. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, said “If you give what you don’t need, it isn’t giving.”

What guidance can we find from scripture? This was not touched upon at the service this Sunday. (Why bother with scripture?) I found this nice sermon on the web. John R.W. Stott in 1999 as rector emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London expounded on 2 Corinthians 8-9, highlighting 10 important principles of giving (for the full text click on the title): (1) Christian giving is an expression of the grace of God, (2) Christian giving can be a gift of the Spirit, (3) Christian giving is inspired by the cross of Christ, (4) Christian giving is proportionate giving, (5) Christian giving contributes to equality, (6) Christian giving must be carefully supervised, (7) Christian giving can be stimulated by a little friendly competition, (8) Christian giving resembles a harvest, (9) Christian giving has symbolic significance and (10) Christian giving promotes thanksgiving to God.

All this talk of sacrifice leaves me with images of Mayan priests holding the still beating hearts of their human sacrifices, and images of blood running down the steps of the pyramid.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feast of St Luke

Read the Hymn for this Holy day.

[1096]Holy Days: St. Luke292. What thanks and praise to thee we owe L.M. [1097]Ely: Thomas Turton, 1844 William D. Maclagan, 1873

What thanks and praise to thee we owe, O Priest and Sacrifice divine,
For thy dear saint through whom we know So many a gracious word of thine;
Whom thou didst choose to tell the tale Of all thy manhood's toils and tears,
And for a moment lift the veil That hides thy boyhood's spotless years.
And still the Church through all her days Uplifts the strains that never cease,
The blessed Virgin's hymn of praise, The aged Simeon's words of peace.
O happy saint! whose sacred page, So rich in words of truth and love,
Pours on the Church from age to age This healing unction from above;
The witness of the Savior's life, The great apostle's chosen friend
Through weary years of toil and strife, And still found faithful to the end.
So grant us, Lord, like him to live,
Beloved by man, approved by thee,
Till thou at last the summons give,
And we, with him, thy face shall see

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I Don't Know How to Thank Him

Charlie's sermon today was based on Luke's story of Jesus and the 10 Lepers. All 10 were healed but only one, a Samaritan, came back to give thanks and praise to God. The sermon could have been great, but it ran too long and missed a couple of good stopping places. I was hoping for a tie in with the Baptisms scheduled for today. We got one (sort of), but it was a comment about dirty diapers, for which I am not thankful. I was thinking of how many are baptised, but probably only 1 of 10 comes back to church to give thanks and praise. I, like Charlie don't know how to thank Him, and I hope that our prayer and worship are pleasing to Him. Charlie may get the last word in because if I live long enough, I just may go to Heaven after wearing dirty diapers myself. I guess that "depends" on my degree of continence when I go. Enough verbal diarrhea, next post will be on October 18, if anyone knows what day that is.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I Can't Believe They Ate the Whole Thing

According to Bishop Henderson's blog at that is what happened to the H.O.B. report when it was ingested by the Primates.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

For the Love of God

We were blessed today by Fr. Dunbar's sermon on love. Skillfully avoiding the issues of slavery in the second part of today's reading from Luke's Gospel, Fr. Dunbar helped us to focus on God's love. He raised the interesting take on how do we love God by quoting Andrew Lloyd Webber's song of Mary Magdalene "I Don't Know How to Love Him." I think Bobby's answer was to keep working at it even if you have to go through the motions, you will eventually get it. I think it was Kathleen Norris who referred to her experience with the monastic action of daily reading or chanting of the psalms as being difficult to get initially, but with practice becoming an integral part of her spiritual development. I think part of being human is this longing for the divine but our humanity keeps us from "getting it." I thought Fr. Dunbar did an excellent job keeping his sermon concise and focused. I would have liked a mention of prayer and meditation as a practice to experience God's love, but the comments from the congregation ("marvelous"... "great"... "wonderful"...) say that I shouldn't add to the finished work.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

An 80 year Marriage

This article in the Huntsville Times caught my eye because of the untold story. It is the 80th wedding anniversary for a 97 year old man and a 94 year old woman. This scandalous marriage of 80 years must have taken place with a 14 year old bride and 17 year old groom. Today, the groom would have been tried as a sex offender, and this success story would never have had a chance to take place. It looks like this marriage was a blessed one. This makes me think of another child bride of Biblical times. Fortunately, Joseph took her in and she was not stoned by the legal system of the day, and the rest is history. I thought this piece of information might be of use when we are asked to redefine marriage. If marriage is between one man and one woman, then does it all depend on what the definition of "woman" is? If SSBs are formalized, will there be age constraints on the participants?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Go TEC and Leave the Doctrine to Us

This Sunday's lessons were a strong message to take care of those around you or be in danger of the fires of Hell. Strange that these readings were delivered to us with such emphasis when Paul's letter to the Corinthians was ignored by the H.O.B. earlier in the week. Does anyone get the impression that the party line is to try to get people in the pews to focus on good works to distract us from the burning denominational bus? The unspoken (until Charlie let it slip during the sermon) goal is to get us to not worry our little heads over "doctrine." My argument is that people must have a firm doctrinal foundation to stand upon if they are to live a life in Christ. This foundation will inevitably lead pewsters to good works. Am I wrong to say that you cannot persevere in the race without the doctrine of the Trinity, without the creeds, without wise spiritual leadership?