All Saints Messenger - August 31, 2017

posted Sep 7, 2017, 11:03 AM by Church Secretary
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Greetings in the name of  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 

This Sunday's Gospel passage from Matthew contains one of Jesus' hardest sayings in all the Gospels,  "If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."  I often find myself thinking that this is one of Jesus' sayings that we could do without.  We prefer the warm and fuzzy passages of Jesus, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me," and "Peace I leave with you, my own peace I give to you."  These are warm and fuzzy passages that are comfortable, safe, and provide stability in our disruptive and frightening world.

But who needs to hear Jesus saying "deny yourself and take up your cross?..."  when you are knee deep in flood waters without power and a warm place to lay your head, keeping up with the bills, caring for a dying friend or parent, or just trying to meet the challenges of the day ... who really needs to hear these words?  We often want to believe that Jesus was only talking to those twelve special disciples but we all know better don't we?  It is not just the 12 who Jesus is calling to take up their cross, it is you and I as well.

The deep secret of Jesus' hard words to us in this passage is that our fear of suffering and death robs us of life, because fear of death always turns into fear of life, into a stingy, cautious way of living that is not really living at all.  The deep secret of Jesus' hard words is that the way to have abundant life is not to save it but to spend it, to give it away, because life cannot be shut up and saved any more than a bird can be put in a shoebox and stored on a closet shelf.

Episcopal Priest and noted preacher Barbara Brown Taylor writes about this passage, "Better yet, life cannot be shut up and saved any more than fresh spring water can be put in a mason jar and kept in a kitchen cupboard.  Yes, it will remain water, and if you ever open it up you can probably still drink it, but it will have lost its essence, it's life, which is to be poured out, to be moving, living water, rushing downstream to share its wealth without ever looking back."

To be where God is -- to follow Jesus -- means going beyond the limits of our own comfort and safety.  It means receiving our lives as gifts instead of guarding them as our own possessions.  It means sharing the life we have been given instead of bottling it for our own consumption.  May each of us make it so!

See ya Sunday! Remember to join us for breakfast.

See ya Sunday
Fr. Gary+