This week’s memory verse: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Psalm 119:105
  • 7/12 – John 1:1
  • 7/13 – Matthew 4:4
  • 7/14 – 2 Timothy 3:16
  • 7/15 – Luke 11:28
  • 7/16 – Proverbs 30:5
  • 7/17 – Isaiah 40:8
  • 7/18 – Ephesians 6:17

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, fill me grace by Your Word, grant that I may be a fruitful carrier of all You have given me.

Blessed those.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

One of the wonderful things about our Holy Church is the great emphasis it places on the Word of God. 

In September 1909 the Holy Synod of the Church developed an understanding of the preaching and teaching of the Word of God as having sacramental action. A later report of the Synod, printed in 1913 said: “Hearing of the Word of God preached according to the teachings of Christ the Lord and the Apostles, has sacramental force, that is, it causes in us the same effects as does the receiving of the other sacraments.”

The sacramental effect of the Word is included in the Church’s Confession of Faith (Article 7).

This understanding is based on the many references throughout Scripture, spoken by Jesus, relating the power of the Word. In fact, Jesus, as the Word of God Himself, comes to us in our hearing of the Word.

That union with Jesus in the Word is the very definition of sacrament, for a sacrament is an encounter with the sacred in a physical way. In baptism, it is washing with water, in communion the reception of the Bread and Blood of Life, in marriage the binding of the couple by the priest, in Unction the anointing and laying on of hands. In the Word it is the speaking and hearing. Each of these a physical manifestation of the encounter with God.

In our Church, our clergy are admonished to have proper preparation, intention, and conformity with the Gospel. Listeners too must be prepared and open to reception.

Today, Jesus speaks of the power of the Word and its effect on those who are properly prepared to receive.

If we receive without the intention of understanding, just frittering off the Word, we lose the grace provided to our condemnation. If we receive the Word with joy, and then walk away ignoring it soon after the hearing, or when confronted, set it aside, grace is lost, and we again fall to condemnation. But if we prepare, provide rich soil for the Word, and allow it to grow and prosper in us, then we have the fullness of grace that makes us effective Christians, bearers of the Word. We are fruitful carriers of Jesus. Blessed we are.

This week’s memory verse: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9
  • 7/5 – 2 Thessalonians 3:13
  • 7/6 – Hebrews 12:1-2
  • 7/7 – James 1:1-4
  • 7/8 – Philippians 3:14
  • 7/9 – 1 Corinthians 15:58
  • 7/10 – Revelation 2:10
  • 7/11 – 1 John 5:15

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant me the gifts necessary to press on in carrying out your plan. Amen!

The Show Must Go On!

you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him

Welcome Kurs campers, my parishioners from Holy Name of Jesus in Schenectady, and faithful from throughout our Church. Welcome to the Bishop Hodur Retreat and Recreation Center, this place of growth and renewal.

You are the little ones that Jesus speak of. What is hidden, what is mysterious, what is impossible for so many people, is obvious to you. 

What do you get that others don’t get?  You get the fact that Jesus has made the way we must go plain, the way we are to live. Those instructions are in the gospels and the writings of the Apostles. Since we get that, that is what we do. Do we get it perfect all the time? No. Are we trying and constantly working at it? Yes.

God has revealed His great plan to us and has told us that His plan relies and depends on us. 

Because we belong to Jesus, He helps us in making His plan work. Jesus does that by taking care of us, by joining us in our work, and most of all by giving us the gift of faith – the faith we hear and feel in our hearts and minds – I hear Him and I respond: I can do it. I can and will get the job done for You, Jesus.

We have strength, understanding, and wisdom not apparent to the world. That strength, understanding, and wisdom gives us confidence to get God’s plan done even when things seem tough. Our vision goes beyond what everyone else sees to what God sees for us and has planned for us.

St. Paul tells us that we can and will carry out God’s plan because we are something different, something out of the ordinary. We could easily say that we are something else! We are extraordinary. All – because we carry His spirit. As Paul clearly states, if we don’t, well what do we have then?

This week our campers will be focusing on the theme: ‘The Show Must Go On.’ Whose show? God’s. Whose work to be done? Jesus’

My dear youth, brothers and sisters, you are in the best position. The spirit of God dwells in you. Don’t forget that. You belong to Jesus. Because of that, the struggles and challenges we all face, the fears we have, although very real to us, are not roadblocks or speedbumps in the way of getting God’s plan done.

Solomon was very young and his father, David handed him the throne and a charge, to build the Temple of God.  The show had to go on. Today, we are charged with carrying out the plan, building the kingdom. The show must go on.

When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.

Proverbs 21:15

I remember those hot summers in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. They were marked by an unease due to the social unrest around me. I used to be a real news junkie and would watch the process of protest unfold each night. Between the ages of 6 and 9 it scared me, and it also marked my psyche and life. Those hot summers of protest did engender change. Voices that needed to be heard were heard. Now they are back. They are needed to make a difference now. The promise of past decades slowed to a crawl and needs to be bought closer to completion. Perhaps it is our general comfort with the way things are. We get used to the status quo. No matter how much we say we like excitement, and things to be different, we don’t. This is why scripture is important. This is why we must study what God has said on the subject, look to God’s design, and then set to work to close the gap between God’s way and what is. Jesus tells us: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” We must live that. We need to ensure action for justice and dignity.

Summer and we have plans to re-open for public worship in our parish on Sunday, July 19th at 10am. Take a look at the required guidelines. We can do this by working together. 

We had a busy June and July/August look to be just as busy. We are looking forward to Virtual Kurs and to re-opening for public worship. We look forward with hope and continue to be the faithful church at home and together.

Read about all it in our July/August 2020 Newsletter.

This week’s memory verse: And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24
  • 6/28 – Matthew 6:21
  • 6/29 – 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • 6/30 – Psalm 73:25-26
  • 7/1 – Romans 12:10-11
  • 7/2 – Colossians 3:5
  • 7/3 – 1 John 3:16
  • 7/4 – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, grant that I may love as You love, that I may walk Your way, and that my passion is for the doing of Your will. Amen!

Deciding…

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

We live in a time of decision, a time marked by outpourings of incredible passion focused on issues pressing on all of our hearts. It is an opportune time to hear Jesus ask us: ‘What and who do you love?’

Jesus defined love as only God can, perfectly. His love is a love open to everyone who will accept Him. His love is for those who come to Him when facing hopelessness or fear, or when they are just in search of understanding. His love is there for doubters and the even the angry.

Jesus’ definition of love calls us to be God directed and other directed. He calls us to an all-consuming and selfless expression of love each and every day. His definition of love requires us to acknowledge what we know inwardly and to express it outwardly. We are required to share His love, invite all to this love, and to avoid all hypocrisy. This is why the Pharisees and Sadducees and lawyers failed, they lived in hypocrisy and refused to acknowledge what they knew.

We are to love with right passion. What kind of passion is that? It is one that places Jesus and His kingdom front and center as our sole focus. It is passion for the gospel message and the great commandment. It is a passion for evangelism, to baptize the world in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It is often said (going back to college Latin), ‘O tempora, o mores!’ ‘O the times, o the customs!’ We have this knack of looking at our times and thinking them the worst, the verge of disaster. That phrase goes back to 70 B.C. This time is indeed a time of decision, and passion. We face the same decision we have faced from time immemorial: Will I receive Jesus, or will I let misplaced passion block me from Him? Will I love like Jesus and lose my life, or will personal passions block by heart?

What and Who do we love? If our love is formed and conducted in the way of Jesus and our passions are for all that is His, we live properly. Our passions are rightly focused. If our passions and love are for anything else, for just having our way (i.e., not losing our life), it is the time to re-evaluate and find true life, to decide to live and spread Jesus’ way of love.

This week’s memory verse: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13
  • 6/21 – Ephesians 6:13
  • 6/22 – Philippians 4:1
  • 6/23 – Joshua 1:9
  • 6/24 – Galatians 5:1
  • 6/25 – 1 Peter 5:9
  • 6/26 – James 5:8
  • 6/27 – 2 Thessalonians 2:15

Pray the week: Lord Jesus, be merciful to me for my failure to stand up. Grant me the grace to stand strong from this moment onward.

Stand up.

“Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid”

Welcome as we once again enter the Ordinary season of the year. This is a time of growth, a time to engage in the work of standing up as God’s faithful people. As we re-enter this season, we see a very pointed story. It is the story of those who stand up, struggle, persevere, and have victory.

We start with Jeremiah. Jeremiah, sometimes called the weeping prophet for very good reason. He did not want the job, the ministry of prophet. He resisted and argued with God, providing every excuse for not doing that work. God won. Jeremiah did the right thing. He submitted himself.

Jeremiah had no happy message. Sometimes it is said that Jonah was the joyous prophet, only reinforcing the good news of God while in Israel. Jeremiah spoke only of doom – of condemnation. He spoke against greed and in opposition to false prophets. For those strong words he was beaten and imprisoned, he was laughed at and mocked. The people shut their ears to God’s truth and their accountability before God. In the end he tried peaching from exile, again to no affect.

For Jeremiah, it was not the words nor even the suffering. His mission was to stand up to wrong, to speak truth to un-listening ears, so that God’s truth would be known. God does not count success as the mark of our faith, but rather our willingness to stand up, even in the midst of the failure and to still offer the message of hope – the intervention of God in the world. That message resounds with all who are abandoned, oppressed, and outcast, who know no justice. Sin will not win.

In Psalm 69 we hear David exclaim: Because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. In other words, he takes it standing up for God above all. David relies on God rather than the world and personally feels every sin committed against God.

Paul reminds us that sin and death are not our destiny, the intervention of God in His Son Jesus has stood us back up.

Being lifted up, relying on God, speaking the truth, having zeal for God’s way are all markers of one who stands up. We will not be able to hide any shrinking back. So, stand today, stand always, stay strong and be acknowledged before the Father.

This week’s memory verse: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

Philippians 4:11
  • 6/14 – Matthew 6:33
  • 6/15 – Hebrews 13:5
  • 6/16 – 1 Timothy 6:6
  • 6/17 – Psalm 22:26
  • 6/18 – John 4:14
  • 6/19 – Matthew 5:6
  • 6/20 – Psalm 90:14

Pray the week: Lord of Life, grant that I may always recognize You as my satisfaction and fulfillment. Lord, You are enough for me.