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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.
It might have seemed like the circus had moved into the neighborhood. Crowds of people, lots of oooohs and ahhhs – an exciting show almost daily. But Jesus had his detractors too. He was quite the watershed personality, diving public opinion at just about every turn. It was worth noting who said what about Him. His family said that he was out of his mind. The religious leaders thought that he was demon-possessed and in league with the devil. But the demons themselves bowed down before Him and declared, “You are the Son of God!” Jesus was bringing the power and authority of a different Kingdom, and He was cleaning out the enemy camp – and He is still doing the same today.
Whose side are you on? What do you say about this man?
The Trinity: An incomprehensible math problem or vital Christian doctrine? On Sunday evening we saw, that far from being theological trivia, the doctrine of the Trinity is important for our daily life. God has chosen to reveal himself toward us as triune and since he thought it was important we saw how how that was significant for our life today.
Do you have a calling? If we were asked such a question, we might reply that “my calling is my career, I guess.” But biblically your calling is something different – deeper than career, though it might express itself
through your career. Let’s explore what the Bible means by calling, beginning with God’s call to Samuel, and then Jesus’ call to the disciples, and Paul’s call to the Ephesians. We may be in for some surprises.
One of the greatest inventions in the last couple of years has been MAPquest and the technology that allows us never to be lost again…at least physically. Ironically, Pentecost is the Festival day that celebrates SPIRITquest. The day we realize that Jesus loves us so much he’s given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and enable us to grow to live, love and look more like Jesus, in other words, never to be spiritually lost again! Living the Christian life without the Holy Spirit is like being on a trip in a foreign land with no map. My prayer for us today is that we would leave here this morning having welcomed the power of the Holy Spirit to lead, govern and map out every part of our life.
Up, up and away! It’s a bird… it’s an early cosmonaut….no, wait – it’s Jesus?! Huh?
Did you know that the Ascension of Jesus has long been celebrated as one of the principal feasts of the Church? It’s right up there with Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, but most of us have no clue why Jesus’ being “taken up” was and is such a big deal. Let’s just say that being crowned the King of all kings and being given a Kingdom that will never end is a pretty big deal with massive implications. The Ascension – it’s more than just a nice piece of art or iconography.
In his costly prayer in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed for those who will carry on his mission in the world. In particular he states that we will get exactly the same commission as he himself received from the Father. What does this mean? It means that we will have the same value to God as his divine Son; the same loving attention and the same authority to transform the world we pass through. Whoever we are, great or small, because we have the same intimacy with God we will leave the touch of Christ on others. All we have to do is to say “yes.”
“Jiminy Cricket! My husband can’t even sit through an hour-and-a-half church service. He wouldn’t begin to know what to do with himself in heaven for all those endless ages. Unless he gets to fish or golf or something like that, he won’t even talk about church or heaven or the life to come.” Such goes an all too common lament. Why is it that Heaven (or the Life to Come) seems so strange to us? For those who suffer, being done with this life means little more than not hurting anymore. But for those who are loving this life, any thought of a life after death seems a little strange and a lot boring. Anticlimactic at best. Unfortunately for such folks, this kind of thinking has kept many people from untold pleasures and greater satisfaction than they ever dreamed possible. For the record, the Life to Come will NOT be boring.
05-10-15 8am Easter 6 Bulletin
05-10-15 1030am Easter 6 Bulletin
05-10-15 6pm Easter 6 Bulletin