On Ash Wednesday the Church invited all of us to the observance of a holy Lent. The first directive we are given is self-examination. Self-examination provides us with an opportunity to deeply look at ourselves, that is, our mind-set about self and others and how we act toward other people.
When you and I examine the Bible as a whole and do not select a word or verse to defend our position about self and other persons, we are left with two directives: to love God with all your heart and soul and fellow human beings as yourself. Wow, what a tall order! The Scriptures offer many other examples of what it means to examine ourselves and our action; however, I would like to quote the late Fred Rogers, “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like ‘struggle’. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and how.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus started his ministry by quoting the Prophet Isaiah’s description of the work of the Servant of God: to bring good news to those who are oppressed, to heal the broken-hearted, and to restore all persons and things to the status for which God created them. Wow, another tall order! In other words, Jesus’ ministry, and now our ministry, is not to invite the “so-called good” in a special club and shut the door on those persons whom society in its distorted attitude considers “unworthy”, but rather seek them out and invite them in.
What this means for the mission of St. Paul’s is to reach out to those who live near and around our church and invite them in not only to join us for worship, but also, for fellowship. It means to be open to all persons including the homeless and poor (actually, especially the homeless and poor). If all of us take on this charge at church and try really hard to accomplish this directive of Jesus, it might just help each of us to become more open and accepting at home, work, school, wherever we find ourselves at the moment. Oh, that’s what Jesus meant!
I’ll end today’s message with a quote from an unknown author, “Diversity is the one thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.