Translate

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

HOMILY -13th Sunday after Pentecost: ¨We learn to extricate ourselves from as many un-holy communions as possible (recognizing that some of the worst are found in religion itself) and refuse to participate further in them or foster new ones...¨ The Rev. John Smith

I DID IT MY WAY

Sinatra's popular song, but thinking of Jesus singing it.  Jesus' "way" much different than the world's way.
Last week I talked about Ordinary time, the part of the church calendar year that we are going through right now- symbolized by the "green" you see on the altar.  There's really nothing "ordinary" about this part of the year, in fact, it's a quite "extraordinary" time because the scriptures each week point the "way" to this life we are trying to live following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ.  Nothing is ordinary about following Jesus!
Remember last week when we were re-introduced to Solomon and over-heard his prayer to God for wisdom.  This prayer, and God's answer, was a fore-shadowing of the coming of God's own Son Jesus coming into the world.  In Jesus' Incarnation we find the fullest manifestation of God's wisdom and will for the world.  Listen to Solomon's prayer this week as he dedicates the Temple:
Will God indeed dwell on earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!  . . . Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; . . . heed and forgive.  Likewise when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house, then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel . . .
Hear the prayers of Israel and the foreigners!  This open, universality is unprecedented!  Everyone is included in Solomon's prayer to God to hear prayers!  Solomon has clearly stepped into the stream of God's will that empties into the river of Jesus' love for all people.  My house shall be a House of Prayer for all people.  This is the witness to God's intention for Holy Communion among all the peoples of the earth made truly possible in Jesus!
This is wonderful, but unfortunately we continue to live in a world full of "un-holy communions."  What is an "un-holy communion?"  An un-holy communion is a communion based on being against someone else.  Holy Communion is the complete opposite of this.  The Church in our time is relearning what Holy Communion really means.  At it's roots it means communion "with and for" and never "against."  When we eat and drink Jesus' flesh and blood we are with and for the world, even with all it's un-holy communions, just as he was.  We commune in Jesus' flesh and blood, as he gave it, for "the life of the world."
We care about the world, period.  So did the folks in Ephesus who had come to believe in Jesus.  Ephesus had everything:  wealth, knowledge, culture, and high religion.  But to live in such a place, the Christians of Ephesus (and by extension, us) needed to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power by putting on the whole armor of God, so that they (us) stand against the wiles of the devil."  (Wiles= the subtle ways the devil creates sad un-holy communions among people, all created and loved by God) Paul goes on:
For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh (Unfortunately, precisely who we do think we need to struggle against most of the time!), but against the ruler, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
We usually think that evil resides in particular, powerful, evil individuals of flesh and blood.  If we can only kill or assassinate Hitler, Saddam Hussein, or Osama ben Laden, all flesh and blood people, deemed evil, then all our troubles will be over and real peace can take hold in the world.  But we learn quickly that when we get rid of one bad guy, there's always another, and another, and another.  That is why Paul says our struggle is not against blood and flesh individuals, but the "powers."  Paul knew that the power of Satan is rooted, not in any particular person, but in human communal life itself, in the temptation to form un-holy communion instead of the Holy Communion Jesus Christ came to bring by his life teaching, living example, and his death and resurrection.
When the New Testament speaks of "powers and principalities," it means all the ways that the "powers-that-be" foster death and victimization in the world. The first believers in Jesus had a healthy distrust of the sovereign states in which they lived and the violent origins in which those states began and the violence they depended on for security.  The earliest believers didn't ever use the actual names for these jurisdictions, ie., Roman Empire or Herodian Tetrarchy, but instead referred to them as the "Powers and Principalities."  
It's easy for some people to think, when they hear this kind of language, that the christian scriptures are just full of supersitions, with the "powers and the principalities" equivalent to "ghosts and goblins."  But this is not the case at all.  The "powers" refer to actual communities, groups, nations, who at the same time are made up of people created and loved by God, yet for the presservation of "values" important to them, declare others evil and form un-holy communions to get rid of them, thinking they have the blessing of their beloved god(s).  Satan's power to wreak havoc in the world is not rooted, as I said earlier, in any "evil" individual (all are created good by God and remain so as part of God's creation), but in the un-holy communions some people feel they have to form or take part in.
As we gather here this morning we attempt, helped by the Holy Spirit and the grace of Sacrament, to learn a different strategy of living in Jesus Christ, so we can bring his love and reconciliation to our broken world.  We learn to extricate ourselves from as many un-holy communions as possible (recognizing that some of the worst are found in religion itself) and refuse to participate further in them or foster new ones.  We do all this by putting on the "armor of God:"
. . . the belt of Truth, the breastplate of righteousness (not our own by God's), good shoes on our feet to spread the Gospel of Peace, and with all these the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and last, but not least, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
May we live Jesus' strategy, his Way, for living boldly and fearlessly in this world in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen!

John+

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
5235-6674 cell telephone (502 country code)
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES YOU!

Monday, August 24, 2015

FROM SANTOS WOODCARVING POPSICLES: Garrison Keillor on Episcopalians


Garrison Keillor

Garrison Keillor on Episcopalians … 
An essay:
We make fun of Episcopalians for their blandness, their excessive calm, their fear of giving offense, their lack of speed and also for their secret fondness for macaroni and cheese. But nobody sings like them. 
If you were to ask an audience in Des Moines, a relatively Episcopalianless place, to sing along on the chorus of “Michael Row the Boat Ashore,” they will look daggers at you as if you had asked them to strip to their underwear. But if you do this among Episcopalians, they’d smile and row that boat ashore and up on the beach! ….And down the road!

Many Episcopalians are bred from childhood to sing in four-part harmony, a talent that comes from sitting on the lap of someone singing alto or tenor or bass and hearing the harmonic intervals by putting your little head
against that person’s rib cage. It’s natural for Episcopalians to sing in harmony. We are too modest to be soloists, too worldly to sing in unison.

When you’re singing in the key of C and you slide into the A7th and D7th
chords, all two hundred of you, it’s an emotionally fulfilling moment. By
our joining in harmony, we somehow promise that we will not forsake each
other.

I do believe this, people: Episcopalians, who love to sing in four-part
harmony are the sort of people you could call up when you’re in deep
distress. If you are dying, they will comfort you. If you are lonely,
they’ll talk to you. And if you are hungry, they’ll give you tuna salad!
Episcopalians believe in prayer, but would practically die if asked to pray
out loud. Episcopalians like to sing, except when confronted with a new hymn
or a hymn with more than four stanzas.

Episcopalians believe their Rectors will visit them in the hospital, even if
they don’t notify them that they are there. Episcopalians usually follow the
official liturgy and will feel it is their way of suffering for their sins.
Episcopalians believe in miracles and even expect miracles, especially
during their stewardship visitation programs or when passing the plate.
Episcopalians feel that applauding for their children’s choirs will not make
the kids too proud and conceited.

Episcopalians think that the Bible forbids them from crossing the aisle
while passing the peace.

Episcopalians drink coffee as if it were the Third Sacrament.
Episcopalians feel guilty for not staying to clean up after their own
wedding reception in the Fellowship Hall.
Episcopalians are willing to pay up to one dollar for a meal at church.
Episcopalians still serve Jell-O in the proper liturgical color of the
season and Episcopalians believe that it is OK to poke fun at themselves and
never take themselves too seriously.

And finally, you know you are a Episcopalian when:
-It’s 100 degrees, with 90% humidity, and you still have coffee after the
service.
-You hear something really funny during the sermon and smile as loudly as
you can.
-Donuts are a line item in the church budget, just like coffee.
- When you watch a Star Wars movie and they say, “May the Force be with
you,” and you respond, “and also with you.”
- And lastly, it takes ten minutes to say good-bye . . . .

(NOTE: Garrison Keillor attends St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in St. Paul, Minnesota)

Thanks to Santos Woodcarving Popsicles blog, sidebar


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


The Reverend John Smith, Vicar.
THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES YOU!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A ´MODEST PROPOSAL´ : Responding to questions regarding a possible ¨Bible Study¨ at Saint Alban Mission. Fr. John, Vicar


Thoughts on Bible Study

A couple of people mentioned the desire to have some kind of bible study among the St. Alban community.  I've put together some thoughts to share toward this goal.
Most bible studies use two basic methods:  one, a selection of a theme in the bible that is followed and studied from it's origen in the Hebrew Bible and it's continued development in the New Testament and the Gospels; or, second, a selection of a particular book, Letter, or Gospel.  Whatever is selected forms the basis for the study.  Over the years most of us who have attended regular bible study have experienced one of these two methods.
But there is a method, more organic, if you will, to studying the bible that brings together both of the above methods and places them in the context of the church's liturgy and prayer.  This organic way of studying the bible uses the Daily Lectionary that is found in the Book of Common Prayer.
Everyday, thousands of people, in their homes, parishes, convents, and religious houses or monasteries, pray the Daily Office which contains three serial readings from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the New Testament Letters, and the Gospel each day.  These readings, in the two year cycle of the Lectionary, familiarize a person with the whole bible.  To study the bible this way can be part of a life changing daily practice, which, even if you are hit and miss, can still bear much fruit!
A modest proposal:  If you are interested in hearing more about in this organic method of bible study and how it could be carried out in the St. Alban community, let's get some coffee and meet after the 10am service on September 6.  

See you there!
Fr. Smith, Vicar 
Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.

The Right Reverend Armando Guerra Soria, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus, IARCA

The Reverend John Smith, Vicar, the Rt. Reverend Armando Guerra, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America (IARCA), rector.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES YOU!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

HOMILY - THE REVEREND JOHN SMITH - DISCERNMENT: ¨...Be careful how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise, making the most of the time...¨

Homily -Sunday, August 16, 2015

Discernment
As you may know, the liturgical church year is divided into 2 parts of 26 weeks each.  The first 26 weeks begin on the first Sunday of Advent and continue through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Eastertide, and Pentecost, which marks the end of the first part.  This first part celebrates the hope for a Savior, Jesus' coming among us, his Resurrection and final departure, and sending of the Holy Spirit.  The second part of the year, the 26 weeks of ordinary time we are in right now, has the goal of helping us put into practice what the coming Jesus means in everyday living.  So Jesus has come among us.  Now, how do we live out his example and teaching in the here and now of day to day living?

This is what St. Paul is talking about with the Ephesians, and always, by extension to us:  Be careful how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise, making the most of the time (the old translation of "making the most of the time" was "redeeming" time- in the sense of entering into the re-making of history by God's Spirit in our lives), because the days are evil. (refering to violence, or, more exactly "sacred violence," violence done because people think God wills or sanctions it).

Today we read from the Book of Kings.  David has been put to rest, a great King, but one who has surrounded himself with the bread of death and died realizing this was not God's will. (Remember his wailing at Absalom's death)  Now, Solomon his son inherits the Kingship, and instead of asking for long life and riches, he asks "Give your servant an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil."  This request pleases God and God grants Solomon his prayer.
The church gives us these passages in Ordinary time because they place us in the context of asking ourselves the question:  If Jesus has come among us, and our lives are joined to his in baptism, how then should we live?  The answer to this question begs the question of God's wisdom for our lives.

In the same vain, but shifting gears a bit, we come to the Gospel this morning.  First a true story.  In my first parish in Arizona, another St. Michael's, there was a wealthy parishioner who was a wonderful steward with her money, definitely the largest pledge in the parish (believe me, a godsend).  This woman liked to travel and announced to me, and some of her friends in the parish, that she was going on a month long vacation to Africa.  She went on the trip, and, to make a long story a bit shorter, she never came to church again.  

The first week after her return when she wasn't in attendance, I thought maybe she was extra tired or suffering from jet-lag.  But when this was the case for the next two weeks, I decided to call on her.  She received me at the door and invited me in.  I asked about her trip and said we missed her at church.  She then went on to talk about the trip to Africa and the very charismatic tourguide that accompanied her small group.  She explained that her life and thinking about her faith began to change as they visited some important sites, especially one where the native people had practiced cannibalism.  The presentation there was very dramatic and really affected her, turning her stomach inside out!  The guide pointed out to her and the group that they too were cannibals if they ate the body and drank the blood of Jesus in Holy Communion.  She went on to tell me that after that experience she decided not to receive Holy Communion ever again.  I did my best to try to talk her out of her resolve, but I was completely unsuccessful.  I spent about four more years in that parish and she never came back, except maybe once for a funeral of a dear friend.

We might smile, or more likely be sad, to hear this woman's story, but it's understandable.  In the Gospel today, after Jesus says again "I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  Who ever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."  The Jews dispute among themselves:  How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  And then Jesus says "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life (a history for the individual and world that is open-ended, not over when with death) and I will raise them up on the last day."

What is Jesus teaching here that requires real wisdom to understand?  The Jews in the story, and indeed most people alive today, think that to live requires, unfortunately maybe, the sacrifice of life.  Sorry, but some must suffer and die in order for us to live, they think.  God requires sacrifice to banish evil from the world!  But is this what Jesus, God's own Son, is trying to teach?  Jesus freely gave his own life upon the Cross "for the life of the world."  Jesus desired to be the final sacrifice that the world requires.  He tells us this can still be the case if we will believe in him.  History can open to a world without end where all people are brought into Holy Communion.

Jesus' one Sacrifice has become Sacrament.  Sacrament now replaces sacrifice.  What if, as followers of Jesus, we saw our daily lives as bringing all people into the Holy Communion we share in the Eucharist, discerning in all wisdom how to shrug off the world's requirement of the suffering and sacrifice of some so that the fortunate rest might live?  For Jesus there is no either/or.  He came for all people, like the hymn, just as they are, each loved, each forgiven, by his Father and ours.  Amen!

John+
The Reverend John Smith, Vicar, Saint Alban Mission (English), Antigua
EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF GUATEMALA - OFFICIAL/AUTHORIZED - ¨El Centro Misionero St. Alban¨ 

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets every Sunday at 10:00 A.M. (see welcome letter at sidebar) at Casa Convento Concepcion, 4a Calle Oriente No. 41, Antigua, Guatemala.


The Right Reverend Armando Guerra Soria, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus, IARCA

The Reverend John Smith, Vicar, the Rt. Reverend Armando Guerra, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of the Anglican Church of the Region of Central America (IARCA), rector.

THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH WELCOMES YOU!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

JUAN LETONA - Rest in peace beloved, father, brother and friend ( funeral plans )

 
Juan Letona
Antigua, Guatemala
August 18, 2015

"We commend into thy mercy all other thy servants, which are departed hence from us with the sign of faith and now do rest in the sleep of peace: grant unto them, we beseech thee, thy mercy and everlasting peace."

1549 Book of the Common Prayer
The Anglican Communion



Early this morning, August 18, former Saint James and St. Alban Mission Parishioner Juan Letona died at Casa María in San Felipe, Antigua. His body will be at Funerales Reforma in Antigua. Apparently the funeral will be either Thursday or Friday in Antigua. Juan's last months were very hard for him. He suffered a stroke and was recovering from it. Apparently he died from a strangulated hernia.
Please remember him in your prayers.
Fr. Ricardo
Sunset photo, thanks to Letty Manne 


Juan Letona's viewing will be on Friday at Funerales Reforma in Antigua. A Eucharist will be celebrated Saturday at 9:a.m. at Funerales Antigua, by Fr. Ricardo and Fr. John. Interment will follow at 10:a.m. at the San Lázaro private cemetery in Antigua.


Monday, August 10, 2015

EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF GUATEMALA - OFFICIAL/AUTHORIZED - ¨El Centro Misionero St. Alban¨ Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) given mission status and Fr. John Smith installed as Vicar




It's official!! We here at St. Alban's are now considered a mission status church. What a beautiful service yesterday with Bishop Armando Guerra Soria, Father Ricardo Frohmader, Senior Warden Elizabeth Bell and all who attended to make the installation of Rev. John Smith official.



Special thanks to Senior Warden, Elizabeth Bell
, who received the official ¨Mission Status¨ document from Bishop Armando Guerra.  Elizabeth has the spirit, the great energy (and stamina) to have kept us organized with her continous stewardship 
and faithfulness during the last two years of formation.


 

Thanks also to the never ending efforts by the members of the non-denominational St. Marks (w
ho used the TEC Book of Common Prayer) for more than 18 years in Antigua for unaffiliated English worship in Guatemala. A very special thanks to Elizabeth Beth McCullough who was the very force for Christian sharing for all of those early years. Thanks to all who have come before us and offered so much of themselves to our fellowship for over two decades.





The Right Reverend Armando Guerra, The Reverend Ricardo Frohmader and Father John Smith, Vicar/Priest-in-charge, St. Alban Mission, Antigua, Guatemala

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bishop Armando to make St. Alban Episcopal Mission ¨official¨ tomorrow, August 9, 2015, 10:00 a.m. Casa Convento Concepcion, Antigua



Dear Friends:
Greetings in the Lord! I'm writing a personal note to each who share the life in the Spirit at St. Alban's and all our friends.
John+ and doña Terri
As many of you know, my experience in Guatemala began almost 20 years ago with a health promotion project in  22 Mayan villages sponsored by my former parish in Tucson. Every few years I would visit here, meet with Bishop Guerra, and accompany one of our teams. The people, the beauty of this country, and the thought of possibly serving as priest here in retirement grew in me. In 2014, my wife Terri and I visited Antigua for 11 days. Terri enjoyed the visit very much and confirmed what was in my heart.Bishop Guerra, Father Ricardo, and the welcome of the St. Alban community have made possible our coming!
The Reverend Ricardo Frohmader and the Right Reverend Armando Guerra Soria
So here we are, beginning a new ministry in Antigua! I hope each of you receiving this letter will join us in ministry, offering love, reconciliation, and healing to all the people of this beautiful city. In the Book of Common Prayer Catechism it asks the question: Who are ministers of the Church? For many, the answer is a little surprising when it says: The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. In other words, all of you receiving this letter, are ministers of the Church  empowered by your Baptism in Jesus Christ. Will you join Terri and me and all the people who worship at St. Alban In this adventure? Your life in Antigua will be filled with even more joy and satisfaction!
This Sunday is a special celebration: the visit of the Bishop making St. Alban  an "official" Mission, thanking and leave-taking of Father Ricardo, and the beginning of my ministry and Terri's with you all. Hopefully you can come this Sunday, but if you are not able, please join us as soon as you can!  
Peace, Love, Joy
John +


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SAINT ALBAN EPISCOPAL MISSION, Antigua, Guatemala: Please join the Rt. Reverend Armando Guerra Soria and our formation team at St. Alban Mission as we welcome the new ministry of Fr. John Smith



Armando Guerra Soria, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus IARCA
You are invited to join us with an institutional celebration of the new ministry of Fr. John Smith at St. Alban Episcopal Mission, Antigua, Sacatepequez, Sunday August 9th at 10:00 A.M., Casa Convento Concepcion 
Fr. John will receive the keys to our Book of Common Prayer collection
The Rt. Reverend Armando Guerra Soria, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of The Anglican Church in the Region of Central America (IARCA) will be present to confirm that Fr. John is well qualified, prayerfully and lawfully selected for his new calling and will commit to accepting this new responsibility at St. Alban Episcopal Mission, Antigua.


We are pleased to welcome Fr. John and his wife doña Terri to the Antigua community and we pledge our ongoing friendship and support for his ministry at St. Alban Mission.



Elizabeth Bell, 
Senior Warden

Monday, August 3, 2015

THE REVEREND JOHN SMITH: ¨Someone wrote awhile back about the malady infecting our society today called Affluenza¨

Homily, The Reverend John Smith
St. Alban Episcopal Mission, IARCA
I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Last Sunday I mentioned that we describe God as Love, but that we should perhaps add to that description the word "abundance." Our God is Love and Abundance.

These two "Notions" with a capital "N" are intimately related.  If a person  who is a follower of Jesus focuses on how scarce resources are, as the disciples did when Jesus asked about  feeding the large crowd, we will never really love, we will always hold back.  It was not surprising when a child with five loaves and two fish shows up and offers what he had in faith and love.  This is the chld-like faith Jesus is talking about when he says we must become like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
There's perhaps no more touching story than we have from Samuel this morning.  David had arranged the death of Beersheba's husband Uriah so he could have her.  From David is his time, to our own leaders today, it's thought that if only certain evil doers can be killed, or someone dies for our cause, it will bring the prosperity, peace, and freedom we long for.  But, unfortunately, we are never satisfied, blood because the need for blood begets more blood.  But back to the story:  There's this poor man and his family who have a beloved lamb that they taken care of for some time, a part of their family, and there's a rich person who has flocks of lambs, and, when a guest shows up and the rich man wants to put on a nice lamb dinner for the guest, he has his servants go get the poor man's lamb and prepare it for the dinner! The poor are always called upon to sacrifice for the rich.
When this story is recounted to David, he is outraged! Who is this rich guy who did this!  Bring him to me!  But Nathan points at David and says "You.  You are the man!"  David is the one who scape-goated Uriah and ordered his death so he could have what he wanted or thought he needed.  This pattern is repeated everyday in our world.  It's not just a nice bible story of long ago.  It's about today's world in which we live.
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:  I annointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little (scarcity), I would have added as much more.  Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight?  You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites (proxy killers).  Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, for you have despised me . . . I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house.
David, like the rich man who took the poor man's lamb, took what was not his to take and ended up losing his wives and most of his wealth to others.
St. Augustine of Hippo once said:  Our hearts are restless until they rest in thee, O Lord.  But do we have to die before experiencing rest, the end, finally, of all our cravings?  How can we be satisfied here and now, just like the crowd who ate and were satisified, with 12 baskets of left overs?  It didn't take long and they were craving more:  What "sign" are you going to do?, the crowd asks Jesus?  He tries to tell them:  I Am the Bread of Life.  What did Jesus mean by that?  Did he mean:  I am the only one who can satisfy your cravings.  Follow me into a non-violent way of life.  I will be the only scapegoat you need.  Do not require the death of anyone in order to find peace and real freedom.  Live as simply as possible.
Someone wrote awhile back about the malady infecting our society today called Affluenza.  One example in the article pointed out that our three car garages (about 900 sq feet) are about the size of an average house in the 1950's.  In answer to happiness surveys taken for years, the highest percentage of people who said they were "very happy" peaked in 1957.  The percentage of people describing their life this way has gone down ever since.  We have garages full of stuff we never use or need.  It doesn't satisfy.  Terri and I had a huge "give away" at church and in our neighborhood.  Now, many others have our "stuff." I hope that they will be happier, but I'm not really sure.  Is this the real reason we wanted to come here to Guatemala?  It might just be.
What's the bottom line- the Good News in all of this? 

Could it be to realize as St. Paul did, that the only solution to our cravings is to be part of the building up of the body of Christ in unity and faith and knowledge of the Son of God.  The teaching and example of Jesus appropriated through prayer.   Live this way and the cravings that cause so much sadness, hardship, and use of the sword will subside.  We're not talking about mass conversions to a religion, but a mimiced way of life.  God is the "Father of all" making everyone our sisters and brothers.  Only Jesus can and will satisfy all: baptized or not.  

Amen!
John+

Armando Guerra Soria, Bishop of Guatemala and Primate emeritus of the Anglican Church in the Region of Central America
Please join us next Sunday, August 9, 2015, for a special visit by Bishop Armando to
St. Alban Episcopal Mission, Diocese of Guatemala
10:00 A.M. Casa Convento Concepcion
Antigua, Sacatepequez