|Photo Credit: Fr. Lawrence Lew OP on Flickr.com|
30 December 2018
24 December 2018
23 December 2018
16 December 2018
09 December 2018
02 December 2018
25 November 2018
11 November 2018
04 November 2018
28 October 2018
21 October 2018
14 October 2018
07 October 2018
Sermon by the Rev. Dr. Leonel Abaroa Boloña
|Photo Credit: PCStratman on Flickr.com|
Good morning, my friends. It is so good to be here. --- We are celebrating Thanksgiving, a special day in the year for considering and witnessing to all that we know and remember ourselves and those we love having been blessed with, ---and praying to God, with gratitude -in blessing, praise, and thanksgiving, (indeed, as we read in the Eucharistic prayer of our BCP).
The eucharist, our celebration of Holy Communion, week in and week out, is literally a work of thanksgiving –such is the actual meaning of the Greek term from which our English word is derived, Eukaristia.
We meet for the celebration of the Eucharist, not only because we like it -and we do- or because it enables us to gather with people we love -which it does- but, mostly, because we are commanded so to do. Jesus himself, when instituting the Eucharist in the Upper Room, not only said “this is my body, this is my blood” but also, “as oft as ye shall do this, doitin remembrance of me”.
By the way -I am sure that most of you know that this is not by far the only Eucharistic service offered in this parish of St Luke. We have another service on Sunday mornings, and a 10am mass on Wednesday mornings, a monthly Sunday 1pm service in the parish hall…
Our parish community organizes itself and works towards making the sacrament of holy commu-nion available also to our brothers and sisters who are unable to be with us in our worship services, as much as they wish otherwise.
For example, Last Sunday, we sent out our first team of lay pastoral visitors, who were entrusted with the reserved sacrament to have it brought to a member of our congregation who otherwise would not have taken communion that week.
We give thanks to God for the commitment of our brothers and sisters to this ministry, and I encourage you all to consider whether you could also serve in such capacity -and, if so, just speak to the rector, or to me, and we will be more than happy to facilitate everything for your ministry.
------As we gather for services in this church, each time, we use very specific readings from the Bible. Many of you know that we follow the Revised Common Lectionary, a selection of Scriptural readings set for every Sunday and every feast of the church year. --This is not just Anglican, but an ecumenical lectionary. ---So, if we should visit different churches on any given Sunday morning, chances are (because there are exceptions), chances are that they will be reading the same scriptural lessons as we would had read here.
The lectionary has its own, few downsides.
For example, because we are provided with carefully selected and curated scriptural lessons for each of our days in the liturgical year, we might –we might- succumb to the illusion that these are, each, self-sufficient texts, somehow hanging over the whole of the Scriptures, without much need for context, or background.
For example -from the content and length of the epistle lessons we read every Sunday, one could end up thinking that Saint Paul wrote many, very short letters, often to the same church, four to five paragraphs each. After all, such is all we really get to read and listen to while in Sunday worship!
I jest, of course. But I’m sure that you get my point--As we discern the hand and the Spirit of God, in the Scriptures and in our daily lives and ministries, we are so much better off giving to the context and setting the attention they warrant.
True, today, as it is often the case, our gospel lesson turns out to be, even without much context and research, still a very moving story. It tells us, on the surface, of an act of mercy, power, and healing, performed by Jesus, for the sake of ten persons who suffered from leprosy, and who had pleaded for Jesus’ blessing.
These ten men, we are told, are almost immediately sent away by Jesus, so they may fulfill what the Jewish law commanded for those healed of leprosy. On their way to see the priest, these ten realize that they are lepers no more.
All but one of them, however, fail to recognize that their healing has been freely granted by Jesus who in turn, when confronted by this one grateful man, declares that it has been this man’s faithwhat has made him well.
Again, as of itself, this is an inspiring, awesome narrative. In a day like today, even more so -as this one returning man embodies the best, most generous instincts in all of us when it is about reacting, in grace, in humility, and thankfulness, for a gift received –a gift that is, indeed, free, granted for grace’s sake alone.
Now -let us look at some of the context here, if only for a moment. First –this is all happening as Jesus is resolutely moving towards Jerusalem and, as we now know, to his return to the Father, viathe Calvary and the empty tomb.
It is on this way to glory where we are told about specific situations in which Jesus is doing the work of his Father:teaching, healing, giving life and love to those he meets –and to those who rush themselves to meet Him.
And it is in these acts of healing, love, and life-giving, where Jesus also engages in what we could call cultural disruption, godly disruption of our fixed ways. Just like in this morning’s gospel, with these ten men afflicted by leprosy.
Now, we are told that Jesus was moving through the region between Galilea and Samaria, or at least, that he met Samaritans.
These were persons of ‘mixed blood’, whose ancestors were both Jews who had not been taken in the Babylonian Exile, and people from Assyria, who had re-settled in the land of Israel, around that time. The Good Samaritan is, I am sure, a most familiar character.
To a Jew, Samaritans were ALL deemed unclean. They were despised because of their very different ancestry, sacred scriptures, and centre of worship. --- Still, Jesus comes into Samaritan territory, by all accounts, ready for a meet.
And, as if these were not big enough ‘tells’, then there is the issue of leprosy. In Jesus’ times, the equivalent of our word for leprosywas also used to describe all sorts of visible diseases affecting the human skin. People so perceived were prevented from worshipping or gathering with, let alone touching and speaking to, their fellows, friends, or even relatives.
They were true outcasts, in the full cruelty of the term. Condemned to only frequent those of their own condition, people who suffered from leprosy or associated conditions could only hope for a miracle to alleviate their suffering. And these ten men who came to Jesus –a miracle they got.
But once we contemplate the whole of the narrative, paying attention to both context and characters, the miracle, while still a powerful, loving sign of the grace of God expressed in the ministry of Jesus, yet still gains in scope and meaning –earthly, human scope and meaning.
We may not know or understand how events of divine healing come to happen, we may hesitate pontificating on the howsand whysof the grace of God dispensed to us His children. But we knowwhat solidarity looks like, what friendship and compassion and love sound and feel like.
It is precisely in this discernment of the mystery of the incarnation, this encounter between the earthly and the heavenly, where we can speak most powerfully about thanksgiving. --- and I suspect that such was just the mindset of that one man who, after having been healed, chose to return, and give thanks, and give witness, to the grace and wholeness that Jesus had worked in him –and his other, unreturning, nine fellows.
Thanksgiving, you would agree, goes far beyond the display of good manners, or even our choice, as people of faith, to give glory and thanks to God for being the source and grounding for all we are and all the blessings we receive. And don’t get me wrong –good manners are important. A good, healthy spirituality is very important.
But thanksgiving–it requires us to move, perhaps take uncharted roads, following the signs of what God has done and continues to do in our lives, both as individuals and as church. Thanksgiving is more like a way of looking at God, the world and other people, a way of talking, of acting, towards God, the world, and other people.
Here is, I believe, the genesis of service, the roots of so many among us who pursue a vocation, a calling, to service, within this our Christian faith. By serving, by enabling someone else to flourish as a human being, as a child of God, we are both bringing Jesus to, and meeting Jesus in, them.
Such a life, which finds joy in service, has been so recently recognized by our diocese and bishop, who appointed our own Heather White to the Order of Niagara. A life of ministry which, if I may suggest so, has been just about that, bringing Jesus to, and finding Jesus in, those we serve ----those whom Heather serves.
Your (Her) ministry stands for those of so many others among you, who embody this life-sense of thanks-giving, of thanks through giving, to God, whom we O so often meet in others.
I spoke before about the Lectionary -and you will notice that it also provides us with a Collect prayer, which gathers the themes and emphases of the scriptural lessons of the day.
In the collect prayer we have said today, we pray that we may have “grateful hearts” for all of God’s goodness, and “steadfast wills” to use that bounty well.
As collects often do, the one we have said today manages to give us, in few, powerful words, the essence of what we pray, and seek, and cultivate, that heart and soul of thanksgiving which we shape after those of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our worship, be it in prayer, in service, or in thanksgiving.
Martin Luther, the great German reformer of the sixteenth century, was once asked to describe the nature of true worship.
His answer: the tenth leper turning back.
Posted by Stuart Pike at 4:32 PM
30 September 2018
23 September 2018
16 September 2018
15 September 2018
02 September 2018
05 August 2018
29 July 2018
22 July 2018
15 July 2018
08 July 2018
07 July 2018
24 June 2018
17 June 2018
Sermon by Canon H. Stuart Pike
This is a dialogue sermon with several voices. Because you may not be able to hear all the voices, I include the text of the sermon below.
National Indigenous Day of Prayer
This is a dialogue sermon with several voices. Because you may not be able to hear all the voices, I include the text of the sermon below.
|Artist: Cecil Youngfox Photo Credit:Antefixus 21 on Flickr.com|
National Indigenous Day of Prayer
St. Luke’s, Burlington
Sunday, 17st June 2018
Philippians 4: 4-9
John 1: 1-18
Cat = Terry
Dog = Holly
Stuart = Stuart!
Terry and Holly go to the Lecterns (You’ll have to share the Mic.) Stuart goes to the Pulpit.
Stuart Today is a very special day. Not only is it Sunday, which is always a feast day in the Church. It is also Father's day and so we wish all of the Fathers here a happy day. But it is a special day for another reason. Can anyone tell me what that reason is?..... It is actually the National aboriginal day of prayer. More than 45 years ago, in 1971 the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, responding to the Indian Ecumenical Council, declared June 21st a National Indian day of prayer. In the intervening years the civil authorities declared the same date to be National Aboriginal Day.
Why do we need such a special day? What is it for? One of the things that we can do on this day is to learn a little more about the Aboriginal people of this land, to celebrate their contribution to Canadian society and to our Church, and to think about how our relationship will proceed in the future.
What has our relationship been like in the past? And how is it now? When the good Christian missionaries of our Church arrived in Canada hundreds of years ago, they thought that the best thing they could do was to bring the people who were in this land to Christ. That is the message of the Good News: that Christ is for the salvation of everyone. But they also thought that in order to do that, the Native people would have to adopt the culture of the missionaries. Some good things happened as a result of those missionaries, but also, some pretty awful things happened over the 300 years of history, which the Aboriginal people have had with the Anglican Church.
Cat: Take that you big brute. Hiiiiiiiya! (thumping sound)
Stuart:What is going on!
Cat: And that. (smashing glass or similar)
Dog: Ouch! You meany, I'm going to get you back for that.
Stuart:What a racket! I don't know what's going on. Those two seem to be fighting! Oh, right, it's them! That's cat and dog. They always seem to fight like cats and dogs! Which makes sense, but they never seem to stop fighting long enough for me to ask them what they’re fighting about!
Dog: You hurt my tail!
Cat: You call that a tail!
Stuart:Now you stop it you two! Stop it, stop it, STOP IT!
Cat: Why? Dog started it.
Dog: No! Cat started it.
Stuart:Well, it doesn't really matter who started it, why are you fighting right now?
Cat: Well, we've always fought. Dog is just so different from the way we cats are. Dogs are just so clumsy and big. They're so untidy.
Dog: I'm not the one who's different. We dogs are a very cheerful type. It's cat that's different. All cats are just so stuck up.
Cat: Dogs don't even speak the way we do. They wag their tails when they are happy. Everyone knows that you're supposed to swish your tail around when you're angry! They should learn our language because cat language is better.
Dog: Dog language is all that I grew up with. Is learning cat language supposed to make me better?
Cat: Well, yes, of course!
Stuart:I guess they just don't like each other very much. Maybe it's impossible for them to get along.
Cat: It's not that we don't like dogs. It's just that we want them to be like us. You know, dogs have funny little rituals that are very different from our ways. Do you know that I have seen dog circle around six times on her mat before lying down to go to sleep. Now what kind of a weird religious ritual is that? Also, they seem to have this connection to the earth. Haven't you ever heard a dog howl at the moon? It's enough to make your blood run cold!
Dog: Those are important things that we do to remind ourselves that we are connected to God's creation.
Cat: Well I think you should worship God the way we do. I think dogs should learn how to purr!
Cat: Yes, and you should learn all of our purification rituals. We spend hours each day washing our paws and our faces and fluffing up our fur so that we are worthy to worship God.
Dog: Fluffy fur! But we like to apply earth to our fur so that we always realize how connected we are to creation, and how connected all things are to each other.
Cat: It sounds to me that we really are very different from each other, and maybe we should just organize a very big fight which everyone could watch and then, whoever wins that fight can rule over the others and…
Stuart:Now wait a minute! That's not going to solve anything. That's not the way to settle disputes. I think you're right that cats and dogs are very different, but that doesn't mean that one of you has all the truth and the other's ways are useless. It sounds to me that each of you has a lot to teach the other, if the other would listen.
Cat: But I want to teach Dog the right way! It is for her own good!
Dog: But you are missing so much of beauty in the world. It's as if you don't see it. I can't let that go!
Stuart:This sounds like some of the trouble between the Indigenous peoples and the settlers. Many of the people of the Settlers have a deep suspicion about the ways of the Indigenous people. Yet there is a connection to the earth, which many of the Indigenous people have, that could really help us to understand God's creation better. Think of the first lesson From Isaiah which recounts the greatness of God. God is the creator of all things, from all the stars of heaven, to the earth, our home, to each one of us with our myriad of gifts and differences. What a powerful God, who created all things, but still has the heart and compassion to give power to the faint and strengthen the powerless.
And God created all nations and has spoken to all cultures.
And you know there are many times when the people of the Settlers of this land don't even recognize that God is speaking to us. And some of those times, the Indigenous people are better in tune to recognize that God is here. Both Indigenous and Settlers have good things to teach and to share. That doesn't mean we have to change each other into who we are. That's not part of God's will for us. Tell me, Cat. Who made you a cat?
Cat: Well, God, the great creator did, of course!
Stuart:And Dog, who made you a dog?
Dog: The same, God the great creator did.
Stuart:Well, Cat, it seems that you not only want to teach Dog your ways, you also seem to want her to change into a cat!
Cat: Well, I always thought that Dog would be much happier as a cat! And I guess, I've always really been sort of afraid of Dog and her strange ways!
Stuart:Fear is a creature of the darkness. Fear happens when we don’t know each other and don’t appreciate each other’s ways. Fear happens in obscurity, but in the Gospel lesson, John speaks about Christ’s coming as a light shining in the darkness. John says that all things came into being through Christ, yet, when Christ appeared his own people did accept him. Yet for everyone who did accept him, they were adopted to be brothers and sisters of Christ, and children of God. This is the promise of God, and the great news of the Gospel to all people. All people were created by God, and God’s kingdom is open to all. When we recognize this, we can understand that the grace of God flows through many people and races and cultures. And we can celebrate the different ways that God’s grace and love can be made known in the other.
Cat: I guess fear of different things can be a stumbling block to finding God in new ways.
Stuart:That's right. Cat, you don't have to remake Dog in your own image. But both of you have much to teach each other and you can both learn more about God that way.
This is one of the reasons that St. Luke’s Church has an Indigenous Awareness Committee which has brought in speakers and hosted events with Indigenous leaders and hosted book studies.
We can still keep our own identity and our own culture and yet be together to share each other's wisdom. Cat and Dog, instead of just fighting each other because you’ve just always fought, why not try to learn from each other and respect each other. We are all God’s children.
Cat and Dog: O.k., it sounds like it might even be fun.
Everyone says good bye to each other
10 June 2018
03 June 2018
27 May 2018
20 May 2018
Sermon by Canon H. Stuart Pike
|Photo Credit: Waiting for the Word on Flickr.com|
There is nothing quite like the inspiration of getting up early and watching a Royal Wedding. Especially when the wedding was held on a gloriously sunny Mid-May day in the absolutely beautiful part of the world that is Windsor. Windsor was where I spent the first couple of weeks when my family moved to England for a few years. The home that the RAF was providing for my family was undergoing some renovations and so we stayed at the Windsor Castle Hotel, right across the street from Windsor Castle which was the epicenter of such fanfare and celebration yesterday.
The music was glorious and drew from both very traditional and very modern and both very English and also multi-cultural sources.
Besides the vows and all the liturgy of Holy Matrimony, I especially found the sermon by Archbishop Michael Curry to be very inspirational. His sermon, drawing from both the Old Testament and New Testament readings was about Love (of course) and about Fire! He quoted from the Song of Solomon which speaks about the characteristics of love: “love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame”
Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, and fire plays a central role. We don’t quite get how that works, it’s even hard to try to imagine what the disciples actually experienced, but whatever it was, it certainly changed everything for them. They were transformed from a huddled group of terrified disciples, hidden behind locked doors into a bold and empowered Church of Apostles who would go out and spread the message of God’s unconditional love, made known to us in the life, teachings and even death and resurrection of God’s son, Jesus, our Lord.
What did it look like? Well, there are two major kind of primal elements that come together: Wind and Fire!
The disciples have been through so much. After the years of amazing, powerful and often confusing ministry with Jesus, they’ve seen him crucified. And then starting three days later they start to see him, seemingly in flashes. Appearing and disappearing – sometimes seemingly substantial – proving his physicality for example when showing his hands and side to Thomas, or when eating a piece of fish on the beach with the disciples, and sometimes seeming ethereal like when he just appears among them behind licked doors, or when on the way to Emmaus, he breaks bread with two disciples, they recognize him and then he vanishes. And then finally, the event which we celebrated last week, he Ascends into heaven but promises that he will send the Spirit of truth, which he also calls the Advocate. They’re probably more confused than ever at this point.
But they do what he says: they remain in the city until they are clothed with power from on high. Now they know what Jesus means!
You know, some translations of the Bible speak of the Holy Spirit in today’s Gospel as the ‘Comforter.” That is certainly the word that the King James Version used. So there are all kinds of Churches across the world called the Church of the Holy Comforter. In the NRSV, which we used today, Jesus speaks about sending the Advocate. In the Greek, in which the Gospel is written, its the word, Paraclete. No, that’s not parakeet (in place of the dove of the Holy Spirit.) Imagine, at Jesus’ baptism, his being dive-bombed by the holy budgie!
When thinking about the event of Pentecost, the imagery that we get, and its results, I really think that the English word, “Comforter” is the wrong word. The Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to be engaged in the act of comforting here – nor in anywhere in the Bible that I can think of.
The disciples first know something is up when, behind closed doors, they hear the rush of a violent wind. Its sound fills the room. That’s the first element. And the second is fire – tongues of fire in the midst of a violent wind which rests on each of them. We remember John the Baptist’s words “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” This doesn’t sound like a comforting Holy Spirit!
Now, from previous Pentecost sermons, you know of my fascination, as a boy, with fire. Is it a guy thing? Is there a pyromaniac in the heart of all small boys? Maybe it’s in everyone?
You’ve heard how my brother and our friends used to experiment with blowing things up, or trying to perfect molatov cocktails flung at rocks in the gravel pit, but I don’t think I’ve already shared that at an earlier age, (parents, please cover the ears of your children) my brother and I managed to set the garage floor on fire! It was almost a foregone conclusion. We were in charge of mowing the lawn. There was the container of gas for the lawnmower, here we were in a mostly empty garage with a cement floor. What could go wrong?
It was just a small little puddle, who could have known that the whoosh of flames would practically touch the ceiling, and would take more time than we imagined to burn itself out! It was powerful! It certainly had the potential to be violent – just like a violent wind. Fire is elemental, it changes things – undoes things - remakes them – energizes them – it consumes – it can destroy and it can also create.
Archbishop Michael Curry showed how fire is so essential to life and to progress. It allowed the industrial revolution, and the fire of the sun burning is what gives the energy and life to our world! The burning of fire within a person is how love is represented a fire that burns and cannot be extinguished. The fire of passion that spurs us to action in every kind of love – romantic (like at a Royal Wedding) but also compassion shown here at St. Luke’s in the many acts of outreach which has grown and multiplied over the years, and the love that feeds us in worship and receiving Holy Communion.
Today we celebrate Fire and Wind – and the way that it recreates the first disciples and can recreate us. Our faith, inspired and created by a fire burning within us and a great wind that pushes us out of closed doors to action always showing the passion of great love.
I leave you with a question: Where is your passion? How can you draw on the living flame of God’s love, which is the gift of the Holy Spirit implanted in you. Remember this holy love which burns inside you. Fan the flame, draw from it, be on fire with your passion for being faithful to God’s call to action to you! Amen.
Posted by Stuart Pike at 1:33 PM
13 May 2018
06 May 2018
29 April 2018
Sermon by the Rev. Canon H. Stuart Pike
|Photo Credit: Quinn Dombrowski on Flickr.com|
Easter 5B - The Vineyard
St. Luke’s, Burlington
John 15: 1-8
My parish just before this one was located at the gateway to the Niagara Peninsula and it was a regular occurrence as I did my regular visiting in the parish or in the region that I would see row after row of grape vines. When we had guests anytime from the late Spring to the early Fall, we would often jump in the car and take them to visit several vineyards and to taste some of their produce. And along with the vineyards were farm after farm of fruit farms. I was so grateful to be living in such a fruitful corner of the world. I would thank God that we lived in Niagara and that we could experience the beauty of grape and apple and cherry and peach growing together.
I appreciate good gardens, but I don’t suppose that I will ever be a good gardener myself. I must have realized this early on when I was a young boy and my maternal grandmother, who could and did grow anything, was teaching my brother and me how to weed the garden beds. Well, you see, I felt sorry for the weeds! Still to this day whenever I get the chance to weed our garden, my sense of accomplishment is always tinged with a hint of regret for the unwanted green refuse simply cast aside and thrown into the compost bin. If you know how I felt about weeding, you can imagine what the concept of pruning did to my psyche!
Between the ages of 11 and 14 years, I lived in England where my father was teaching at a Royal Air Force staff college. We lived in a marvellous house with two sets of French doors that opened out into a beautiful back garden which was filled with about 15 rose beds. There were more rose beds in the front. My father, like most of the officers at the staff college, hired a gardener to care for it all.
Mr. Jenkins was very old and bent and kind and he would show my brother and me how he pruned the roses and cared for the rest of the garden. He seems kind, I thought, but he certainly was vicious with a set of pruning shears.
After watching me cut a quarter of an inch off the ends of a couple of branches, he explained to me that pruning was good for the plant. It allowed it to flourish and to produce far more flowers. Short term pain for long term gain.
When Luke was writing the book of Acts and John was writing the Gospel of John the Church was going through persecution. Many were imprisoned and tortured and executed just for being Christians. Many Christians believed that God was in control of their lives and many must have found it difficult to understand how they could be experiencing so much evil while they had such a strong faith in God. Many would have been tempted to renounce their faith, or to simply keep it a very personal faith, and not to proclaim it publicly.
It is within this context that we must hear the story of the vineyard. This image of the vineyard was one which was very familiar to the Hebrews. In much of the Old Testament the children of Israel were compared to a vineyard which was tended by God.
In today’s Gospel lesson, Jesus tells his followers that God will prune the faithful to make them produce even more fruit. I think that the early followers of Jesus who were so persecuted understood that it was through their suffering that they became even stronger in their faith. I remember my other grandmother, my father’s mother, explaining to me that her great faith hadn’t been grown when everything in her life was going smoothly. It had grown during the struggles in her life which were many.
And in remembering our time at the Royal Air Force staff college I am reminded of the motto of the RAF and of the Commonwealth air forces, including our own. “Per Ardua ad Astra.” which can be translated as “Through adversity to the stars.”
Many people here know this truth about struggle and growth. Still, many others find that life’s challenges cause them to doubt their faith and some seem to lose their faith in adversity. How can the bad in our life possibly cause us to be more fruitful?
We can only understand it if we experience the other aspect of gardening which we hear in today’s Gospel. More gardening lessons! Mr. Jenkins showed my brother and me how to graft a shoot of one rose onto another rose bush. He especially liked to do this if there was a problem with the root system of a rose bush and it was dying. He could not only keep the shoot alive, but it could flourish growing on a healthy bush even if its original rose bush died. We had all kinds of rose bushes with roses of different colours blooming from them. We even had an apple tree which had small green apples on one half and small red ones on the other.
Jesus tells us that he is the true vine, and that we have been grafted into him. It is he who provides us with our spiritual life. He gives us spiritual food that we might not only survive, even in adversity, but that we will thrive and produce fruit.
The way in which we are grafted into Jesus, the true vine is by our baptism. It is through baptism that we become full members of the body of Christ. Remaining rooted in Christ is the only way in which we can live out our baptismal covenant. It is not something which we can do alone. It is the only way in which we can flourish. That is why we are baptized into a Church community. Just as a vine has many branches, so we are grafted into a community with many members and we support each other and are all fed by Christ.
Jesus speaks about this connectedness to him as “abiding” in him. Jesus is our vine into whom we have been grafted. Abiding in Jesus means recognizing our rootedness in Him. It means living out our life drawing from our connectedness to our faith. Abiding means living in Jesus – daily. It means that it is Jesus who feeds us, who motivates us and guides our thoughts and actions.
What does it mean in practical terms to you? How can you tell if you are abiding in Jesus? Well, you can tell a tree by its fruit. What kind of fruit are you bearing and what does it say about you? If we are abiding in Jesus, then we will be doing the things that Jesus did – we will be working for others good, rather than just our own. We will be valuing other people as Jesus did. And we will be working to overturn structures that oppress, or exclude or are life-destroying.
There are examples of what happens to people when they do not abide in their faith, or in their deepest selves. It is an extreme example, certainly, but, sadly there are more and more examples like it: the senseless destruction of life perpetrated by Alek Minassian in Toronto last week. The fact that these types of tragedies are happening more and more frequently is an indication, to me, that people are living more and more disconnected lives. Disconnected from other people, and certainly disconnected from a deep faith, or from the true vine, which feeds us, and gives us direction for living fruitful lives, and for making a difference for good, that we might me builders of God’s kingdom in the here and now.
I invite you to look at all the ministries that we do here at St. Luke’s and to find a way to be more deeply rooted into Jesus, the true vine. You will find many ways to bear fruit by being engaged in some of our ministries, or you may bear fruit in most other areas of your life, if you live your faith as one who is fed by Jesus, the true vine. Let your love of Jesus give you insight into what God would have you do. Let Jesus be the one who directs your decisions and actions.
I pray that we will each remain rooted in Christ, that we will continue to grow in faith and that we will bear much fruit. Amen
Posted by Stuart Pike at 12:46 PM