Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, our strength, and our redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Bishop Whayne Hougland visited St. James’ in Albion this past weekend. It was a very busy weekend as we attended the Bishop’s Workshop on Saturday and then he followed us to Albion. The Wardens met with the Bishop for a very nice dinner and conversation. The Bishop led worship and preached on Sunday followed by a lovely salad luncheon. Then the Bishop met with the full Vestry.
The Bishop updated us on what is going on in the diocese. Canon Bill Spaid will be our Canon Missioner here in the Southern Region. Can we think of a more engaging name for our region? The Bishop is concerned that the church be more than an exclusive worship club, we are the Kingdom of God. We talked about what it means to be a vital and viable church, not growing in number but growing outward into the communities we live and work in.
The Bishop is such a great cheerleader and gave St James’ and myself such warm words of encouragement. We provide leadership for the Albion Community Garden and the Literacy Program for the Albion Peapods Summer Camp. We host a monthly community supper. We extend a welcome to the students at Albion College to join us in worship or for a meal, but they never come. BUT … When we invite them to come and help us with Spring cleanup at the church, they are there. When we invite them to help with a Chili Supper to raise funds for the Albion Community Garden, they are there. When we invite them to help paint containers at the Community Garden or to mentor children at Reading Camp, they are there. This is the church active in the community working with our children, working with our young adults and building lifelong relationships and friendships, building community.
This morning’s gospel is the story of Jesus cleansing the temple, turning over tables, coins rolling across the pavement, doves fluttering and livestock bellowing as they are pushed aside. The Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, place this story just before the Passion Story, acting as the last straw that led to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. John has a different purpose in mind and places the story at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has attacked the temple; things cannot stay as they are. Jesus comes disrupting the status quo and demanding change. This is not what God expects from His people. God does not ask for the sacrifice of animals’ blood, but the offering of ourselves, our praise and thanksgiving, our very lives.
What does this mean for you, for the worshipers here at Whitcomb? I don’t mean my ministry to you, but your ministry to the community. You have a beautiful home and amenities, staff to provide for your needs, meals, warmth and a beautiful view. But not all seniors are so lucky. Some have their homes but not the resources to maintain it or must choose between medication and food. Some are starved for companionship.
Contemplation is the long looking at something and thinking. Do you ever sit and just look at Lake Michigan? Do you reflect on the fact we have one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world just outside our door? And not just that but we can drink it, swim in it, catch salmon and perch and fry them for supper. Do you have access to a computer? Can you write a letter? Speak up on behalf of creation, our waterways, our less fortunate neighbors; be the church in St. Joseph. Amen.
Mother Darlene Kuhn
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