October 2017  
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Rector's Msg.

FROM THE ARCH DEACON

When I volunteered to write this message for the month of September, I was somewhat surprised at the emotional response I experienced. Thinking of September brought back memories of my childhood days; September was always a time of transition from the freedom and fun of summer to the structure and camaraderie of school. It was a time to renew friendships with classmates I hadn’t seen since June. Back in those days, school always started right after Labor Day and let out early in June.

But times have changed. I saw a sign the other day that school in another town would resume on August 14th, and that seems to be the pattern for schools today. Sometimes it seems like the only thing that we can count on in our human journey is change.

However, there is one thing that does not change, one thing that we can always count on, and that is God’s love for us. From the creation of mankind as recorded in the book of Genesis until now, God has reached out to us in unconditional love, even though we as humans are not always very loveable. In particular, we as Christians celebrate the ultimate act of God reaching out to us as manifested in the incarnation of his Son; the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly there is no way in which we can reach out to God that would equal the sacrifice that his Son made for us – lowered to human status, rejected by mankind, even murdered by his own creation. How can we ever demonstrate that same degree of love in return?

We can’t – but we can at least do what the Son of God taught us to do while he was here on earth. In our attempts to share what we believe, we tend to focus primarily on the aspect of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus. But there is more to life in Christ than salvation alone. The Gospel of Matthew ends with, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember I am with you always unto the end of the age.”

We are often big on what we call evangelism, bringing people to Christ, but forget those things he taught us about living a life in Christ – things like, “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged,” and “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” When we do attempt to pass on these teachings, we tend to make them into some sort of legal system, in which you will be punished if you don’t do this. The truth is that we will have better lives if we do these things. And in order to simplify the teaching,

Jesus boiled it down to simply, “Love one another as I have loved you.” He was telling us how to live according to the way God had intended when he created us. Furthermore, he reassures us that we are never alone in our quest to live, as he wants us to live. He promised to remain with us; that promise was made over 2,000 years ago, and it has not changed. That’s what faith is about – just knowing that we are loved, and that we are never alone.

Speaking of love, perhaps my September nostalgia is related to the fact that this is the month, when our Rector and his family will be returning from sabbatical. They are such a great example to us of what it means to be loving to one another, and we are blessed to have these folks in our lives as living reminders of what it means to walk the Christian walk. Let us welcome them back with all our hearts, even as we learn to walk in love with one another.

Arch Deacon Gary Brown

 

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