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Welcome to our podcast!
One of the most powerful lessons on grace came to me during a conversation with my 9-year old son Hudson. It came as we were driving to Edisto Island on highway 174. I can’t wait to tell you what happened, for I’m convinced that only when we understand grace will we fully understand today’s reading from John 6. To spiritually prepare you, and before the sermon, pray this definition of grace quietly to yourself:
Love that reaches up is adoration
Love that reaches across is affection
Love that reaches down is grace.
The Rev. Dr. John Gillison grew up in a loving, nurturing family, with many pastors, including his father. As a boy he would come home from church and imitate his father in a creative worship service with young cousins and friends. Adults frequently called him “little Rev.”
Rev. Gillison received his bachelor degree from Allen University and his Master of Divinity degree from Turner Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He also studied at Emory University and the University of South Carolina. Allen University honored him with the D.D. degree in 1975.
Vocationally he has taught in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Allen University and in the School of Religion at Morris College. He has also served a number of parishes in SC, including Mother Emmanuel in Charleston from 1988 to 1996.
In 1978, Rev. Gillison was elected president of the Christian Action Council for South Carolina, making him the first African-American to fill this position. He also served on the General Board of the National Council of Churches (USA) and was a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. From 1996 to 2014, he served as Presiding Elder of the Edisto District of the AME.
Rev. Gillison has been very active in the Civil Rights Movement of our nation. One of his greatest inspirations was the opportunity to visit with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his home in Atlanta.
Rev. Gillison and his wife of 46 years have two daughters, two grandsons, and one son-in-law. He is now retired, after fifty-six years of active ministry.
Many a man has been shipwrecked by a woman’s beauty. Many a woman has fallen to a man’s power, influence and wealth. The story of David and Bathsheba is familiar enough, and practically synonymous with adultery. But the story is a huge lesson on the subtle yet powerfully destructive nature of sin when it is given free rein. The fact that it is one of the heroes of the Bible that is the subject of this object lesson, and given the rest of the story that follows in the aftermath of David’s affair, should serve as both fair warning and encouragement to all of us. Most of us are careful with our footing on slippery ground. Our reading today informs us that the same discretion is needed as we walk spiritually. Come Holy Spirit and make the way before us sure, straight and clear.
In ancient Jewish culture, a disciple’s greatest desire was to be covered in the dust of his rabbi. The disciple followed so close to his rabbi that he began to take on not only the beliefs of the rabbi, but also his personality, mannerisms, habits, thoughts, and speech. The purpose was for the disciple to be a duplicate of the rabbi so that he could then train up the next generation of disciples to mimic him. Jesus’ disciples love and follow Him. It’s not about doing anything for Jesus, but about doing everything with Jesus. Jesus is saying to us, “Do you love Me? Then obey Me. Do you trust Me? Then practice what I’m teaching you.”
This is a video from Sunday’s Tool Time session for others to view. It is a 20 minute testimony of Pranitha Timothy who spoke at the Global Leadership Summit on the issue of God’s empathy towards those who are suffering violent oppression in the world.
Her story was part of a 2 week focus on God’s character of justice and the nature of reconciliation.
I hope you are encouraged by Pranitha’s witness and courage!
“The greatest of those born of woman.” That’s what Jesus said about him. Bold, and intimidating, he spoke to religious leaders, kings, and commoners alike. He called a spade a spade. He lived out his calling with courageous determination, but even he didn’t entirely understand the way he was preparing. And what began in glorious acclaim ended in disillusionment, imprisonment and death. John the Baptist: a man of the desert whose life pointed in singular fashion to Jesus. John’s life reveals both the glorious potentials and hard realities of all identified with the Christ – for we are living letters, known and read by all around us.
When was the last time you asked God for a miracle? Let me back up, do you even believe in miracles? On this July 4th weekend we will take you to a revolutionary war miracle here in Charleston and we will also take you on the Sea of Galilee to another miracle there. Perhaps the most powerful recent miracle happened in our midst right here in the Holy City involving our beloved Charleston 9. As you leave here today, my prayer is that you would:
· Live a more expectant life of miracles
· Have a fresh hunger to pray for miracles
· And believe and love the Author of miracles; Jesus Christ.
As we continue to grieve last week’s tragedy at Emmanuel AME church, it can be hard to know what to feel, what to say, how to respond. Emotions can be a roller coaster varying wildly from day to day, even moment to moment. Sadness, shock, anger, guilt, numbness, etc. Such is the nature of grief. Fortunately, in God’s perfect providence, this morning is the one Sunday each year where our lectionary leads us into the biblical text written specifically for moments like this, the great book of Lamentations. Lamentations is the Church’s prayerbook for times of trauma and trial. It gives us words for the feelings we may struggle to express. And in it’s tear-stained pages we find a radiant hope that the world does not know.
Perhaps like you I wake up in the morning first hoping the devastation at Mother Emanuel Church was just a nightmare. Then as the reality sinks in, this wave of sorrow, anger and dread overtakes my heart and then the tears flow.
In our worship this past Sunday, I gave you the permission to stop, grieve and allow yourselves to feel the pain of what our nine families are feeling who lost their father, mother, husband, wife and grandparent. Jesus stopped and wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. But thank God we don’t have to grieve alone. In the name and in the Hope we find through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, We are better together. With that said, here is what we did this past Sunday to work through in prayer and action our collective grief.
Again, thanks be to God we are not alone in our grief, come as we humbly stand together in this tremendous community.
Your Rector and Shepherd,
The Rev. Alfred T. K. Zadig, Jr.
C. S. Lewis once noted that “In the end that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us either with one expression or with the other, either conferring glory inexpressible or inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised.” How Christ shall look at each of us is the question—the infinitely important question— before us in 2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ….”
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.