Translate

Monday, November 23, 2015

CHRIST THE KING: ¨As Jesus said to Pilate, his Kingdom is not ´of´ this world, but it is definitely ´for´ this world. His prayer was Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." John+

Christ the King
Today we come to the last Sunday of the Church year.  The 26 weeks of "Ordinary" time culminate in the feast of Christ's Kingship.  The Gospel today has Pilate asking Jesus (right before his condemnation) "Are you the King of the Jews?"  There is more to say, for example, Jesus' answer, etc., but first let's get in touch with our own experience of "kings" and the origin of the notion of king.

Most of us, as Americans, don't relate very well to the notion of royalty, or kings in general.  The only "kings" we relate to in our country are those celebrities we make into kings, like Elvis, or like "King" Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, etc.  Church-wise, as Anglicans we may take pride in the royalty of England.  After all, the head of our Anglican Communion is Queen Elizabeth, and, one of these days there'll be a King of England.

But where did the role of "King" come from?  This is kind of a composite explanation, but from ancient times, in all cultures, the one chosen King was a designated victim.  As societies and tribes formed, and their belief systems included looking at the forces of nature, or founding stories or myths, there came a need to have someone who could be offered to appease the gods or forces they worshiped.  Someone who could be offered to appease the gods, or, while alive, take on the blame for things that went wrong, or, if the case may be, someone who could be praised when things went well.  This would the "chosen one" or King.

We're accustomed to "kings" staying in power for life, without term limits, etc., but that wasn't the case for many centuries at the beginning.  The "victim" king was chosen by lot, or some other means, and destined to die for the gods on behalf of the people.  Until the time appointed for his sacrificial death the chosen one had it pretty good in terms of comfortable living, clothes, riches, servants, etc.  The people did it up "royal" you could say.  After all, this was the person who would be sacrificed so he had to be made into the most valuable person possible to worthily represent the people in their sacrifice.

The term of office (actually, the time before the day of death) varied greatly.  It could be short or long.  For example, in one tribe in Africa, after selection the person would be brought front and center and the people would gather 'round and yell at the chosen one:  "You are a turd, you are a heap of garbage, you have come to kill us, you have come to save us."  After this, a bowl of objects (like marbles or stones) was put before the chosen one and a strip of cloth or leather was placed around his neck and then two of the strongest men in the tribe would pull with all their might trying to strangle the chosen one while he desperately tried to grab as many objects as the could.  The number of objects he was able to grab and hold on to determined the length of his reign.

So how did we get to our "modern" notions about kings?
  
If at the beginning, a "King" was a scapegoat victim to be offered to the gods, and for a time, act as a person of blame or praise depending on how things went (success at war, good harvests, etc.), this person had a certain amount of time to live "high on the hog" until the day of his demise.  Basically what happened is the "King" from his position of power was eventually able to secure others to die in his place, i.e. other, fresh scapegoats.  In other words, to stay in power, it would be arranged that others would die for the King, so, instead of the king dying for the people on behalf of the gods, others would end up dying in his place.  Isn't this still how people in power of the "kingdoms" of this world operate still today?

So when we read the story of Jesus' trial arraignment before Pilate and the "King" terminology is applied to him, it can be very enlightening and help us in deepening devotion to our King and where he leads us.  

We read in Daniel:

As I watched in the night vision, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven.  And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.  To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.
Applied to Jesus, standing before Pilate in the Gospel, we can see how different the Kingship of Jesus is:  God's Son, chosen by people to die, witnessed to as a king, but whose kingship will never end, and who chose not to have anyone take his place, freely offering his life.  As Jesus said to Pilate, his Kingdom is not "of" this world, but it is definitely "for" this world.  His prayer was "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

The whole movement is toward this very world in which we live, to help God's Kingdom take root here in this world through the actions of those who believe in Him with the help of the Holy Spirit.  There is not the slightest idea that the goal  is for us to be whisked away after death to a wonderful, disembodied spirit-world called heaven (this is Platonic thought, deemed useful by the Church), and this hope for departure from this world should be the reason for living!  No, on the contrary, its this world with all its mix of beauty and terror, hatred, exclusion, lack of mercy and forgiveness, and desire for revenge against those who harm us.  This is the reason for living and what the "Kingdom come" will transform.
Yes, it's too slow for me, but I don't call the shots.  I just read the Gospel and see how Jesus lived, taught, and continues to live in the power of Resurrection.  Jesus Christ is my King, thank God, a different kind of King, so I try, in my weakness and sin, to respond to the Holy Spirit, worship and act in this world as it is, eagerly awaiting His return.  And, if he doesn't return in my life time, I'll bide in eternity time until he does and enjoy His reign forever.
  
So I ask, as your brother and priest, would you join me in following Jesus, and always keep it in the back of your mind (don't forget= the root of the word "Truth" that Jesus refers to in Greek is alethea [lethe means forget, and the "a" before the root means "not"].  In other words, when Jesus says "I am the Truth," what he means is "I am the one not to forget!"  Isn't that our problem that we live many of our days without a thought that Jesus is truly the King of all kings, and worthy of all our trust and love?  We gather to hear over and over "Do this in Remembrance of Me," so we don't forget that Christ our King is our true joy and peace!  

Amen!

John+

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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 EVERYONE

Monday, November 16, 2015

THE DOCTRINE OF HUMAN BEINGS: ¨If you seek to destroy us, we will assuredly destroy you.¨ The Reverend John Smith

(In the light of the tragedy in Paris, I'm always impressed how the scriptures we are given for the week speak to what we are experiencing.  We will commend all who died using the prayers on page 499 in the Book of Common Prayer and also pray for peace using the prayer for Peace on page 815 in the Prayer Book.)  John+

The End of the World
As we come to these final weeks of the church year, culminating withthe Feast of Christ the King and the biblical vision of the Second Coming of Christ, our attention turns to consider the "End of the World." This topic is always framed in what is called "apocalyptic" literature in the bible which is found in the Book of Daniel, the Book of Revelation, and in today's gospel Mark 13 and parallels in the other gospels.  Not a great deal of coverage when you think of the bible taken as a whole, but this apocalyptic literature gets an inordinate amount of attention in bible studies, modern film and literature (best selling "Left Behind" series, etc.).   If an evangelist wants to pack a church or stadium all he or she has to do is publicize that the topic is about what the bible says about the end of the world.
  
Remember Jim Jones and the suicidal pact his followers took and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians who were all killed in Waco, Texas?  Jone's and Koresh's communities (and eventually died) around the apocalyptic texts of the bible.  The Islamic State formed around a diesire to live out the strict, early days of Islam around the Prophet and the Sharia law.  But they too focus on the apocalyptic elements in the Koran:  the end of the world in an epic battle on the farm plains of a place called Dabiq near Mosul.  Drawing the West into this battle would fulfill their apocaplyptic vision.  If we realize this, how should we respond to them.  What are the learnings from the Jones and Koresh tragedies?

The word "apocalyptic" means "unveiled."  What attracts the most attention about the "unveiling" is that it purports to describe how God will return at the end.  God's anger and judgment for sin is couched in violent imagery against the reprobate.  The reprobate are always the "others," the enemy, and never includes those pointing the finger at the evildoers.

This all tends to be a bit embarassing for followers of Jesus when you consider that God in Jesus is revealed as Love.  God is Love.  A loving father might discipline or spank his children, but would never seek to destroy them- they are his children.  But most think that is precisely what is being unveiled:  the anger and harsh judgment of God against those who refused to believe in Him.  But is this what is being "unveiled" in the literature:  the coming crushing anger and death wielding power of God on all humankind sparing only those who "believed" in him (a mental act of belief or daily living out Jesus' example?)?

What if what is being "unveiled" in this literature is not God's violence against the unbeliever, but instead human violence itself:  the cruelty and pain inflicted. between humans themselves and their scapegoats? The wars and rumors of war.  A case in point:  When we think of the end of the world and its total destruction by God, what about the doctrine of MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction?  This doctrine has nothing to do with God, but has its origin entirely with human beings. If you seek to destroy us, we will assuredly destroy you.
Albert Schweitzer in the first half of the last century described Jesus as an "Apocalyptic Prophet."  Of course this can play right into the thought that Jesus will return in anger and judgment at the end.  But what if the description fits Jesus to a tee?  Jesus is the one that clearly reveals, unveils, the complete useless dead end of human violence and invites people to a whole new identity through Holy Baptism, and the formation of an ever-expanding community of love fed with his own Body and Blood in Holy Communion?  In other words, the Divine violence which most people have come to live with and expect (even in a Church that should know better!) has no inspired place in the whole Gospel!
  
Yes, Jesus can be described as a first century apocalyptic prophet, but what he clearly reveals as he hangs on the Cross, is that human beings are responsible for the terrors of the world in history all along and to the very end.  It's always about human terror and never about divine terror.  And unfortunately, the Church of Jesus itself has for centuries played into the thought and practice that "the Sword can and must preserve the perogatives of the Church" (or as we say civically, our deepest values, like freedom,etc.).  This kind of thinking perdures in much of the church (and other religions as well), but I think our present Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis are on the same wavelength to guide us in a different direction:  to use the teaching and example of Jesus in the Gospel to disarm the powers of "sacred violence" (violence done in the Name of God or with God's approval) and point us to reclaim our Baptismal Identity.  What's more, sacred violence cannot be defeated by violent means-more violence.    It just doesn't work.  Humanists optimistically think that people can bring an end to violence on our own.  But God's answer in Jesus is that only by being instruments of mercy, forgiveness, and courageous holiness can the powers and principalities of violence in the world burn themselves out.  The key is to deny fuel to the fires of violence.  Over and over we refuse to do this out of fear, mostly of economic loss.

The end is near.  Jesus is coming.  The Holy Spirit is guiding.  Violence is being revealed for what it is:  nothing that God wants or supports.  The Apocaplypse will unveil the Victory of Christ.  This is the Good News.  Think about what we read in the Letter to the Hebrews last Sunday:

Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

So we lift up our hearts.  Celebrate our Baptismal identity in Jesus, and with this Holy Eucharist keep his hope and love alive in the world.
  
Amen!

John+


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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 EVERYONE

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A CALL TO PRAYER TOMORROW - November 15: In light of the tragedy in Paris (and the Russian jet downing, and the increased bombing of the Islamic State) John+


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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)
Dear Friends:  
In light of the tragedy in Paris (and the Russian jet downing, and the increased bombing of the Islamic State), I call you to come and pray.  We are approaching the end of the church liturgical year where the scriptures lead us to consider some very important questions.  My sermon is entitled:  The End of the World.  I wrote it before last nights tragic attacks and loss of life.  Let us join together in prayer for all victims and strengthen our hope in Christ!  John+

Bible study this week:

We'll be reading from 1 Maccabees (chapters 2-4) this week.  Did you know that when Jews were attacked on the Sabbath, they were forbidden to respond by the Torah?  A huge massacre took place.

We will also read from the final chapters of the Book of Revelation (chapters 20-22).  In these chapters we will read of the ultimate victory of Christ over Satan who has been on the loose terrorizing the nations for a "1000" years.

In the Gospels we will focus on Matthew (chapters 17-18) which contain Jesus' teaching about communal life in the church (the ekklesia= ek= out and klesia= called out).  The church are "those called out" to be a Sign of God's Presence in the world- the Body of Christ.

There is a lot here to study, but no need to do it all.  Crack your bible open and pick a part of the above to focus your study on.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your reading and your time spent will bear fruit!

Peace,  John+

THE DAILY OFFICE: ¨Heal the hearts of those who kill and maim..¨

Notre-Dame de Paris
Lord, our world is full of hatred, violence, terror and the death of innocents; now more attacks has been carried out in Paris that we cannot comprehend and none can justify. Heal the hearts of those who kill and maim to show their angry power. Help us sow peace where there is violence. Help us build justice into all our relationships. Replace our lust for revenge with mutual understanding. Receive the dead; bless the dying; save those in danger; and teach us that the only path to holiness is by walking in your love. In the name of your Son Jesus whom we crucified, but who rose again despite us. 
Amen.
Thanks to The Daily Office, sidebar
http://dailyoffice.org/2015/11/14/morning-prayer-11-14-15-samuel-seabury-1st-american-bishop-1796/


Letter from Dean of American Cathedral in Paris  

November 14, 2015
Paris

So many friends and colleagues have written in the last 18 hours expressing support, promising their prayers, and asking what they could do.  I cannot tell you how incredibly important this has been to all of us at the American Cathedral.  It is a very fearful time, and we are still bewildered and unsure.  Knowing we have prayers coming from around the world,  that we have a cloud of witnesses, and that we are so inextricably connected in the Body of Christ makes all the difference.

What can you do?  First of all, I ask your prayers:
–          for the victims, those who died and those wounded
–          for their families
–          for all those who have helped and are helping
–          for all who protect us
–          for the city of Paris, and especially our Cathedral community
–          for all those whose anger, fear and hatred lead them to commit such acts
–          for hope, for light in the darkness, and for peace
Secondly, I urge you to give some serious thought to next steps.  Your expressions of support are strong and genuine – but where do they go?  We have all held each other up before – after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, for instance, and after 9/11 – and shared a strong sense of unity.  I’m not sure where I am going with this; I only mean that our prayers must lead us to action.  Here in France I suspect there will be very, very strong anti-Muslim sentiment, and one thing we must do is stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and foster conversation and understanding.  I think we also need to work harder to care for the flood of refugees fleeing terror in their own countries – work for immediate care and for political solutions.  You will need to find your own mission in the US, but I know that it must involve continued dedication and commitment to making justice and making peace, and being a light in the darkness.

Thank you again, my brothers and sisters.

Lucinda Laird

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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)

Monday, November 9, 2015

THE DYNAMICS OF ´ALL IN´ STEWARDSHIP: ..¨ fear of loss and scarcity will be no more, abundance will be evident, and the needs of the church's ministry and the needs of the poor will be addressed and cared for...¨ John+

(I began by sharing how I came by the title to today's sermon.  Some new friends invited Terri and I to play in a Texas Hold 'em tournament.  Only the top two chip leaders win the prize.  In the last three hands of the tournament, even if you are not one of the chip leaders, you can make an "All In" bet, and, if you are successful, able to finish in the top two places.  Going "All In" can change the whole dynamic of the game.  This I believe is very true in our life of faith as well.)

All In?

We are coming to the close of Ordinary time:  the "Green" season.  The goal of this season is to learn and incarnate in our own lives the whole purpose of God the Father sending his Son among us- Jesus' teaching and example.  So these last few weeks take on an added importance as we try to live out our baptism and the promises we renewed last week on All Saints.

One of the key concepts of all scripture is the role of prophet.  We're not talking here about the kind of prophet that looks into a crystal ball and tells the future, but instead someone in the here and now living in such a way that points to God's presence and a sense of God's will.  Some people think that God is dead, or, if alive, doesn't give a lick about what goes on in the world.  The prophet of God knows that God does exist and does care.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews begins his letter with the following statement:

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he had spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds.

There have always been prophets, but the prophetic word has finally become most clear in Jesus Christ, God's Son.  Jesus is the Prophet who in his here and now incarnated among us the living God and pointed out God's desire and will for our world.

All prophets are victims and are people of suffering, but they're not spiritual masochists seeking the suffering and disdain they receive.  But Jesus as Prophet was willing to undergo suffering as a necessary part of the revelation he sought to bring to the world.
  
Think about the story of Elijah and the prophets of Ba'al in their contest to see which of their God's was the true God.  When Elijah's wood soaked pile of wood ignites at his word, and the when the prophets of Ba'al fire fails to burst into flame, Elijah has the whole lot of them, 600 prophets, summarily executed. This is the usual case, a prophet prophesies and people die.  In stark contrast, Jesus the Prophet sheds his own blood and doesn't require the blood of others.  Jesus lives the prophetic ideal as the perfect victim.  We would say that "He put his money where his mouth is."  He was a completely different kind of prophet.

But we might say, many have given their own blood for others, and this is true.  The best example coming up is Veteran's Day.  On that day we will honor and pray for so many men and women who nobly gave their lives for the our country.  Unfortunately, they gave their lives under orders while trying to take as many enemy lives they could.  Jesus, who taught the love of enemies, gave his life so that no other lives be lost.

That the Jesus movement seems to be less than successful when the whole global scheme in taken into account- ie., there continue to be "wars and rumors of wars," it doesn't mean that its not taking root at all.  The Kingdom of God is making progress all the time, mostly in small ways, especially on the personal level.  At just the right time, like our reading from the Letter to the Hebrews says, Christ . . .  will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.  If everything were perfect in our time, what would we be eagerly waiting for?

The most important thing we can do now is put our heart into our relationships with God and our neighbor.  That's why today's Gospel is so helpful:  we get an x-ray of people's hearts.

Jesus and his disciples plant themselves across from the Temple treasury.  (There was no collection during the Temple liturgy- you paid to get into the Temple!)  Jesus observes to his disciples how many rich people put in large amounts as they entered.  (And people were sure to notice!)  And then comes along this poor widow who puts in her two small coins- everything she had.  (The picture here is:  "Mr. Money-Bags" reaches in to his heavy purse and pulls out an amount and lets it make quite a noise.  After the donation, the bag is still heavy as can be as he swings it back into his pocket.  The widow reaches into her bag and pulls out two coins- her now empty bag goes limp.)

Jesus points all this out to his disciples- quite a learning for them if they get the drift of it all and a bit of his disgust along with it.
  
Now this Gospel story is helpful as it appears around "Stewardship" time each year.  Usually the preacher says something like:  "The story of the widow's mite is a good example for all of us as we prayerfully consider what our giving to the church and the poor should be during the coming year.  The poor widow gave everything she had to live on, while we are asked to set aside for the ministry of the church and the poor in our community only a tithe, or a tenth, of what we live on.  So let us be generous as we fill out our pledge cards today."

As I said, this is the usual sermon point made by the stewardship preacher.  But I think something else is going on in this Gospel that is more important than the widow's example.  Jesus, the Great Observer, is watching how the scribes, teachers of the Law, are entering the Temple precinct.  They love the greetings, the best seats, and places of honor.  Everybody nods to them.  Then Jesus drops a bomb when he says:  They devour widows' houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers.  they will receive the greater condemnation.

I think this is what Jesus is getting at:  Those in control of the Temple of God could care less about their relationship with God and they we were quite content to allow the taking of the two last coins of the poor widow (maybe at one time she had a nice house).  They benefit from others going "all in" while not doing so themseves.  The widow put "in more," she put her whole heart into her relationship with God, everything she had.  She entrusted herself completely to God- she surely couldn't rely on the scribes and the "holy ones" to help her.  

So the usual stewardship sermon on this Gospel needs to clearly illustrate this point:  If you're going to be part of this religious endevour, and I do believe we are called to gather with others to worship in this great act of Thanksgiving (if people only knew!) and then we are sent out into the world to serve our neighbor, what's most important is that we put our heart into it-  all the trust and faith we need, all the love we have to give, our resources--everything in God's hands.  Doing this, the dynamics of our lives do change:  fear of loss and scarcity will be no more, abundance will be evident, and the needs of the church's ministry and the needs of the poor will be addressed and cared for-- all because we took the step and went "all in."

Amen!

John+

Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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, November 2, 2015

ALL SAINTS SUNDAY - THEY ARE AT PEACE: ¨The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.¨ The Reverend John Smith




(God is all about life.  Death was never part of God's plan.  Death is rooted in our human culture.  God knows the change we humans have brought about by our sin, so when the scriptures says things like "Death is swallowed up by victory," it's talking about Jesus' coming among us to lead us away from our culture of death to a completely new culture of Life.")

Feast of All Saints, 2015

You might remember the Gospel story about the young man who decides to follow Jesus, but then asks Jesus if he can go and bury his dead father first.  Now most of us would say "Of course.  Go bury your father.  It's a son's duty.  But Jesus says something that seems so harsh to us:  Jesus tells the young man to "let the dead bury their dead, but you, you come and follow me."

What is going on here?  What does Jesus mean by his remarks to the young man?  The first teaching to a new recruit is the most important.  Jesus is teaching the young man that God is all about life and has nothing to do with the culture of death that is all around us and that captures all our attention 24/7.  We're thinking about our own death, the death of our loved ones, if someone threatens our life or way of life we plan their demise. Victims of death are everywhere.  Death or the fear of death makes the whole world go 'round and influences the actions of the nations.  Jesus knows this and his coming among us was for one main purpose:  To move us by a demonstration of his love away from the human culture of death to a Culture, a Kingdom of Life.

Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?

Remember how Jesus took his time when he heard that Lazarus had died?  He loved Lazarus, but he didn't drop everything and run to Martha and Mary to pray the tomb.  Where people/we see death, Jesus sees only life.  He doesn't care about the stench.  Take away the stone!  Everyone is wailing.  Jesus cries too, but it's mostly for sadness that they don't understand and continue in fear of death and blind to the life he brings.
  
The story of the raising of Lazarus is meant to take away our fear of death.  The fear of death over and over again creates more pain and violence in the world:  When you threaten to take away my life, I'll take steps to kill you.

Proof in point:  Just 5 verses after our Gospel passage this morning, Caiphas and the Sanhedrin, feeling threatened by the story of Jesus' raising of Lazarus, gather together in fear.  Caiphas makes the point that has been made over and over again since the Fall of Adam and Eve and the killing of Abel by Cain:  You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.

This is the classic scapegoating formula from the beginning of human culture.  This is the formula that Jesus and his followers must shun completely.  They must learn to recognize it when they see or hear it and run from it.  It is completely void of the Holy Spirit's presence and God's will.

The real secret of catholicity is revealed in Jesus:  All local culture builds its borders by means of death- the death of victims.  (Just think of the Conquistadors and their actions against the indigenous here in Antigua!)  In great contrast, Jesus becomes a forgiving victim, by who by his death and Resurrection makes possible a new culture in this world that has no frontiers, and that maintains order, provides security, and finds its identity not by being over and against or excluding others, but by including everyone in ever expanding circles of mercy, forgiveness, and love.

God is a God of the living and not of the dead.

Today is All Saints.  We remember the lives of all those who have gone before us in faith.  Our human culture would say they  died.  But we, in our Jesus counter-culture, say:  They are not dead, but, as the Book of Common Prayer says:  They are alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord!  Jesus, who rose from the dead and gives life to all mortal bodies.  The ones we remember experience the blessed fruit of Jesus' catholicity.  In their new life in God they experience in real time what Jesus came to bring:  A culture of love and abundant life without end.

This is the "new heaven and new earth" that the Book of Revelation speaks about and that we pray in the Lord's Prayer:  You kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  Some day heaven and earth will be one.  We do our small part to bring this about.  Meanwhile we can trust in the words from the Book of Wisdom our alternate first reading today:

The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.  In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.

Amen!
John+


Saint Alban Episcopal Mission (English) meets for mass 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!