Sunday, October 18, 2015

You are the Body of Christ
There’s an old story that’s been around since the French Revolution called Stone Soup, perhaps you’ve heard it…

A kindly, old stranger was walking through the land when he came upon a village. As he entered, the villagers moved towards their homes locking doors and windows. The stranger smiled and asked why are you all so frightened?  I am a simple traveler, looking for a soft place to stay for the night and a warm place for a meal. "There's not a bite to eat in the whole province," he was told. "We are weak and our children are starving. Better keep moving on." "Oh, I have everything I need," he said. "In fact, I was thinking of making some stone soup to share with all of you." He pulled an iron cauldron from his cloak, filled it with water, and began to build a fire under it. Then, with great ceremony, he drew an ordinary-looking stone from a silken bag and dropped it into the water. By now, hearing the rumor of food, most of the villagers had come out of their homes or watched from their windows. As the stranger sniffed the "broth" and licked his lips in anticipation, hunger began to overcome their fear. "Ahh," the stranger said to himself rather loudly, "I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cabbage -- that's hard to beat." Soon a villager approached hesitantly, holding a small cabbage he'd retrieved from its hiding place, and added it to the pot. "Wonderful!!" cried the stranger. "You know, I once had stone soup with cabbage and a bit of salt beef as well, and it was fit for a king." The village butcher managed to find some salt beef . . . and so it went, through potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and so on, until there was indeed a delicious meal for everyone in the village to share. The villager elder offered the stranger a great deal of money for the stone, but he refused to sell it and traveled on the next day. As he left, the stranger came upon a group of village children standing near the road. He gave the silken bag containing the stone to the youngest child, whispering to the group, was not the stone, but the villagers that had performed all the magic."

This story really illustrates the power of all of us when we each just share just a small portion of ourselves and our possessions focused for a common purpose.  St. Paul talks of this synergy as the Body of Christ.  St. Paul tells us that we all have different gifts and parts to play in building up the kingdom of God – right here and right now.  We are all different, but when working together we become Christ in the world for others.

Each of you has gifts and has in many ways already put them to God’s use.  Like the story Stone Soup, St. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians outlines how the Church functions much in the same way - bringing everyone’s gifts into focus.  St. Paul then goes on to say that all that we do must also be done with love.  The formula for growth and change is simple.  If we combine our passions, talents and gifts, in love, and focus them on changing the world for Christ we cannot fail.  We become incorporate the “Body of Christ” acting in and through the world.  This is what the church at its heart should always strive to be: Christ acting in the world as the Church through its members. 

Part of my calling as a Deacon is to help my parishioners match their passions with the world’s needs.  Some have felt a tug towards doing or championing a particular ministry and we try to help them with the resources and to connect them with other parishioners that may share their passions.  Perhaps you are currently doing your passion in your job or your hobby, or perhaps you have always felt a love of something that you just haven’t been able to follow through with. Try to find someone in your church or area that might be able to help connect you to others and resources.  My hope with these blogs is to enliven you in your calling and purpose in serving God and one another.

We all have special gifts and talents.  Each of us is unique and has something very special to offer.  We all have a song to sing, and no one should leave here with that song unsung.  We are all part of God’s creation—fitting together like pieces of a puzzle. We are joined and share the same spirit.  Being a Church, then, is a way to re-connect with one another and with God through fellowship and communion; by giving of ourselves to one another.

Reflecting on the story of the Stone Soup you can begin to envision what we can accomplish if we all combine our small offerings together.  Even small contributions can yields GREAT results in service to God and his church; for together we can do much more than any one of us alone can do.  Little is much when God’s in it!

Think of us here as the “Body of Christ” in motion, each adding something to the world that produces for others a glimpse into the kingdom of God here and now; fulfilled through our Christian witness and service to God and one anothe.  Like the soup it is amazing what can be accomplished when we all work together!

God bless you all!

Your faithful servant,

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Where Your Passions Meet the World’s Needs – There You will Find God

     The fall is now upon us, a time to get back to our busy lives.  I invite you to take a moment and reflect on your service to Christ.  In this especially troubling time of economic heartache, it is vital for us as Christians to show our faith by our actions.  There are many people out there with real needs; people having such difficulties that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, people that are unemployed, people that are having a crisis of faith: in their nation, and possibly in God.  How do we then as Christians become Christ for those in need?  Stewardship is a great way to let others see the light of Christ in you.

     For each of us, Stewardship takes on many guises.  To one, it’s donating to a church, a children’s hospital, or to a charitable organization.  To another, it’s caring for someone in need, or caring for our planet.  The word Stewardship means to take care of that which belongs to another.  In the Christian sense, this means we are responsible to care for all of God’s creations - ourselves, our neighbors, and our world.

     We all have special gifts and talents.  Each of us is unique and has something very special to offer. We all have a song to sing, and no one should leave here with that song unsung.  We are all an integral part of God’s creation - fitting together like pieces of a puzzle. We are all of us joined and share the same spirit.  Stewardship, then, is a way to re-connect with one another and with God through fellowship and communion; by giving of ourselves to one another.

     Now is a good time to reflect on how best to serve one another by giving of ourselves—our time, our money, our talents, and especially our spiritual gifts.

     It is my hope to encourage you to envision how we all can better serve the future of our Church in service to Christ.  My vision is to inspire you to search for the opportunities to use your gifts in service to Christ by matching your passions with the world’s needs - whatever they may be!  God works through us all in many different ways.  Our God is a God of love and abundance.  There is always enough when we share our blessings with one another.

     I ask each of you this fall to reflect upon how you can be a good steward with what God has entrusted you with.  For example ask yourself:

            - What is my profession?
- What are my hobbies?
            - Am I an "at home Mr. Fixit"?
- Do I like to cook?
- Do my friends think that I’m the most organized person they know?
- Am I great with kids/teens?
- Do I love to plan events?
- Am I tithing the resources God has graciously blessed me with?
- Do I have an idea for ministry, or a cause I would like to champion?

     Your church welcomes all your talents "great and small".  Your gifts, talents, and passions will be used in the service of Christ by serving the Church, your community and the world!  A recent USA today poll showed that the happiest people on our planet were those who volunteered their time in service to others!  Let us know how you can be of service; even in a small way; even with limited resources or time.  Little is much when God’s in it!  Prayerfully consider God’s purpose for you in serving His church and His people.

     Working for God may not seem to pay much money, but the fringe benefits and His retirement plan are out of this world!

…and don’t be shy in letting me know how I can be of service to you as well!

your faithful servant,