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The Chalice
Friday, February 10 2023

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God, Help us to live slowly:

To move simply:

To look softly:

To allow emptiness:

To let the heart create for us. Amen

Michael Leunig

The lectionary for this week, the sixth Sunday after Epiphany,  is deep and rich – inviting us to a more profound understanding of who we are as followers of Jesus. Indeed, these scriptures could inspire several sermons, but I will focus on the overall theme of being a beloved community- and as we honor Black History month, it reminds us of our call to grow together in the spirit of the law – to enter into deepness and wideness of God’s love – a challenge to go beyond simple dichotomies of rights and wrongs. 

In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we learn about a community that is squabbling over which spiritual leader is better – Paul or Apollos. Their fighting and confusion point to the fact that they have not understood the deeper message -- human wisdom alone is unable to attain the knowledge of God. It is the Holy Spirit that equips us to know God – and to know God’s will for our lives. The problem with the Corinthians is they have been fully depending upon wisdom from the wrong sources. We do need teachers and guides to help us along the way to spiritual maturity, yet we must  be receptive to the voice of Jesus sent through the Holy Spirit.

In our old testament lesson, Moses attempts to illumine the path that will lead the Israelites to life and prosperity – if only they obey and follow the commandments of the Lord their God. Sometimes, when faced with two roads, both seemingly desirable and good, we need someone with vision to point us in the right direction. We always have a choice, but Moses reminds his people that part of choosing is knowing God and keeping his commandments. The decalogue is not just a list of laws to blindly follow – it is a gift from God which invites us into relationship with each other and with God. We are asked to know God’s heart – to love God and to walk in ways of justice, righteousness, and loving kindness. Into the fullness of the law.

 What does God’s love really look like? Jesus is inviting us into a wider view for building community and righteousness. It is more than just following specific rules. Righteousness is about being in right relationship with our God and our community and this is a righteousness that exceeds that of the Pharisees and scribes who live into the letter of the law. We are called to live into the spirit of the law – as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our everyday decisions about how we treat each other and grow into a beloved community.

In early December 1967, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. unfolded his vision for the Poor People’s Campaign, his next protest in Washington, D.C.. Assassinated on April 4, 1968, he never made it to the mall in Washington, but thousands traveled there to honor King’s memory and pursue his vision. The Rev. Ralph Abernathy picked up the torch lighting the way for the erection of Resurrection City. He is quoted as saying, “We’re going to build this city…a community of love and brotherhood. The American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, white poor Americans from the Appalachian area of our country and Black Americans will all live together in this city of hope.” It remained intact for 42 days before being disbanded. It was a community of people who had often been set against each other now living in love and action- looking down new roads of possibilities – challenging the status quo. This was a place where people felt a profound hope for beloved community.

Jesus has called us to live into a deeper understanding of God’s love, which may require that we struggle a bit in the gray areas – where we are called to live into a much broader and glorious way of loving.

Dear God,

We pray for another way of being:

another way of knowing.

Across the difficult terrain of our existence

we have attempted to build a highway

and in so doing have lost our footpath.

God lead us to our footpath:

Lead us there where in simplicity

we may move at the speed of natural creatures

and feel the earth's love beneath our feet.

Lead us there where step-by-step we may feel

the movement of creation in our hearts.

And lead us there where side-by-side

we may feel the embrace of the common soul.

Nothing can be loved at speed.

God lead us to the slow path; to the joyous insights

of the pilgrim; another way of knowing: another way of being. Amen

Michael Leunig

In the spirit of God’s Love, 

Deacon Claire 

Posted by: Rev. Claire D. Mis, Deacon AT 01:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
St. John's Episcopal Church
12 Prospect St. | Huntington, NY 11743 | PH: (631) 427-1752
Sunday Services at 8 AM and 10 AM
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