Patty’s Sermons

May 31, 2020 Pentecost Sunday

A Pentecost Sunday

May 31, 2020

John 20:19-23

It is not often that I come to a Sunday morning and have nothing to say. Or rather I have much to say and cannot say it. And, probably I should not say it. I have no right to. I have not been sick. I am not out of work. I am not a front-line worker in a hospital emergency room. And I am not black. Anything I might say smacks of my white privilege – staying safe inside my comfortable home in my safe suburban neighborhood. It keeps me from getting Covid-19 and it keeps me safe from rubber bullets and tear gas.                                                                                         

But to stay silent is as criminal as those who threw bricks in the windows at Nordstrom and lit police cars on fire. It is as criminal as the cop who killed George Floyd. It is wrong to riot and cause mayhem in our streets. But it is equally wrong to let our attention get drawn away from the first crime because no one wants to deal with it.

The people who are burning down our cities have no desire to participate in a peaceful protest to stop the insidious and interminable virus of racism. They are just out to cause trouble and eat cheesecake. It is evil. Racism is evil.

Today we celebrate the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as wind and flame and birthed the movement that became the Church. I find it hard to celebrate much of anything this morning. I am instead livid and heart-broken. So, my words come, not from me, but from the broken-hearted and the angry.

In a few minutes we will renew our baptismal vows. I want us to think about them a bit more than usual.

Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?

Theologian Gordon Lathrop says, “we should yearn for the assembly (or gathering), but not at the expense of those who are in harm’s way.”

Today we must refrain from in person gatherings – the fellowship we all want, the Communion we all want, the prayers we all want to hear each other pray aloud. It is hard and we long for things to go back to the way they were. And it is dawning on us that we will not go back, in fact, cannot go back to the way it was before.

But we are not left hopeless. We are here together today. The Holy Spirit has given us the means to stay connected and to fast for what we cannot have so we might learn what it is like to be truly hungry and respond. I know people who are praying today who have seldom prayed in the past. And they are not just praying for themselves, but for others who are in harm’s way and for leaders to emerge to guide us on this fearful journey toward health and wellness.

Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?

Rap artist Killer Mike says, “So, I’m duty bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you may be a house of refuge in times of organization. Now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth. It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs.”

We all sin, we all walk away from the love of God.

It tells us we have work to do

to rout out the evil that lives around and in us.

But we are not left hopeless. We are all welcomed back into the Presence of the One who breathes life into us and makes us whole. We can, with God’s grace resist the evil that runs deep in our institutions and in ourselves. We can repent of the sin of racism and violence. With the Presence of the Holy Spirit we can find the courage to fight the evil and not each other.

Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry says, “Love looks like making the long-term commitment to racial healing, justice and truth-telling — knowing that, without intentional, ongoing intervention on the part of every person of good will, America will cling to its original, racist ways of being…Love looks like all of us — people of every race and religion and national origin and political affiliation — standing up and saying Enough! We can do better than this. We can be better than this.”

And we are not left hopeless. The breath of the Holy Spirit blows through us with love to birth something new, not just on this Pentecost Sunday, but every day that we remember what Christ has done for us. It ushers in the strength we need to proclaim God’s love for us this day and always.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?

Kaitlin Curtice is a Native American Christian author and speaker. She Prays for our Violent Nation…

O God,

Mystery,

Creator,

First Breath—

We are so troubled.

We are the ones in denial of our violence

and we are the ones who are crying out for justice.

Can you feel us shaking?

O God,

Mystery,

Creator,

First Breath—

We are spiraling in despair.

We are looking to the ancestors

who teach us how to pray

and we are calling out the ancestors

who handed down their violence to us.

Can we be different?

O God,

Mystery,

Creator,

First Breath—

We cannot fathom wholeness

because, maybe, we don’t really want it.

Teach us to want it.

Can we want it?

O God,

Mystery,

Creator,

First Breath—

We cannot go on this way,

with broken bones and unhealed wounds

and people screaming in the streets

for air.

O God,

Mystery,

Creator,

First Breath—

We are trying not to give up on each other.

We need to remember our way home.

We need to learn to believe in Us.

Can we believe in Us?

Help us remember what it means.

Help us name and honor those who are killed in our streets.

Help us name our white supremacy.

Help us hold one another in Real Love.

Help us deny systems of whiteness.

Help us de-center hate.

Help us find the wounds.

Help us heal the wounds.

Help us.

Help.

We are not left helpless. When we remember it is “us” who are each other’s neighbors. We, us, who are images of Christ we yearn for. We who heal each other when we see and acknowledge the first breath that brought us life and the new breath that helps us see each other as equals.

Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says, “Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands. But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.” And he says, “What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice.”

We are not hopeless or helpless. We can be the ones who shine the light in the darkness and bring about the change that’s needed to end this scourge. The dust in the air, from virus particles to racism is what keeps us from peace. The flame of the Spirit shines its light everywhere that anyone who carries it goes. We who claim to be filled with the Holy Spirit have a power and a call to push for a world where are are one and all are made whole.

Now, will we with broken and even angry hearts, hear theses vows again and ask God to help us live into them with the wind and fire of new life, new courage, and new hope? I pray so. Amen.

The Reverend Patty Baker, Vicar

St. Clare Episcopal Church

Snoqualmie Washington

 

Credits to:

Gordon Lathrop – I have searched everywhere to find this quote and can’t! If I find the source I will correct this notation. By I know it was made by Lathrop.

Killer Mike – https://www.rev.com/blog/transcripts/rapper-killer-mike-speech-transcript-during-atlanta-protests

Kaitlyn Curtice – A Prayer for a Violent Nation https://sojo.net/articles/prayer-violent-nation

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/31/black-man-i-understand-anger-our-streets-we-must-still-choose-love/

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge

 

 

 

 

May 21, 2020

A Easter 7

1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11, John 17:1-11

May 24, 2020

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time…Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

I find those words from 1 Peter this morning to be so comforting. Perhaps a non-biblical rendering of those words might be “Hang on. Have faith. The only way out is through.” No matter the translation I also find the words hard to live into. They require a level of trust and vulnerability. We don’t easily let go of the things we worry about, to trust that God will take our fears and hurts and brokenness and turn them into healing and blessing. It may be our deepest hope, but it is seldom easy to be so humble. We think we have to control things instead of offering them up. It often takes an overwhelming level of upheaval or despair to get us to that point.

But this is exactly where we find Jesus in our Gospel reading today. As we near the end of the Great Fifty Days of Easter we get a flashback again to the night before Jesus dies. We hear part of his prayer to God in front of his disciples at the Last Supper. It is the the last image of their friend before he is taken from them. It is the first part of a very intimate prayer – totally humble, totally vulnerable, and openly in front of his friends.

Some people might say it was because he was modeling something for them so they would learn how to pray. Perhaps it is a good example. I wonder if it was because Jesus was at his most human – there was nothing left for him to do other than to cast all his anxieties and his deepest hope and faith in the one he called Father? The One he knew cared for him more than anyone.

I am struck by Jesus’ humanness here. We so often assume him to be divine and all powerful all the time. But here he is just like you and me, terrified of what is to come and realizing the only thing he can do is ask for God’s protection and healing grace. The only thing he can do is ask for protection for the people he loves. No one cares more than his Father. There is nothing more to do but have faith and keep moving through what is to come.

Jesus has taught his disciples to heal the sick and cast out demons. They are to be the healers the world will need when he is gone. And because God knows they are also in need of healing, both things happen. I know how often I pray for someone’s healing and find myself realizing that my prayer is doing something that heals some misguided thought or broken part of me. I have no idea how that works, but I’ve had it happen enough times to know how true it is. When we cast our anxieties on God, we find we the relief and healing that God offers us. We become wounded healers to steal the phrase from Henri Nouwen.    

Anar Yukhayev, a New York OB/GYN was severely ill with covid-19 and was hospitalized five floors above the maternity ward where he usually works. He watched his symptoms with a growing sense of dread. His whole body burned with fever. He had to gasp to get air. He tried to tell himself what he usually tells his patients: Hang on. Have faith. The only way out is through. A friend reminded him of a teaching from the Jewish Talmud: Sickness is an opportunity to recognize what sustains you — the loved ones who surround you, the strength that runs deep.

I am quite sure this man’s prayers were for God’s protection and healing grace. I don’t think he knew yet he was asking for protection for the people he cared for.

After a week he was offered the chance to be part of a clinical trial. Being a scientist, he agreed. The next day he was so sick his doctors determined that he needed to be intubated. Just as they prepared to put him on a ventilator – they stopped. His oxygen levels started to go back up and his body began to heal.

The next day, he felt so good he was able to shower and eat a meal. “To anyone who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, “I want to spread a message of positivity.”

Hang on. Have faith. The only way out is through. Humble yourself before God. Cast your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

About a week after Yukhayev was discharged from the hospital, he learned one of his patients required an emergency C-section. Since she had tested positive for covid-19, she would be giving birth in isolation. Yukhayev hadn’t planned on going back to work so soon. He was still weak from his illness; his uncle had died of the virus just days before. But a test showed he was not contagious, and he wanted to be there for his patient. He understood what it meant to be sick and alone and frightened.

A few hours later, Yukhayev was holding a tiny, healthy baby girl. The surgery taxed his wounded lungs, leaving him winded and weary, but he felt happier than he’d been in a long time. The newborn reminded him that, “there are good things around us continuing to happen. It gave me a breath of hope.” 

1 Peter goes on to say that, “your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.” Nothing could be more apt on this Sunday in this world when numbers are still skyrocketing and the New York Times has 1000 names of the dead in America on its front page. There is so much to grieve and there are so many prayers asking, pleading, for our fears and anxieties to be taken from us.

As we wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost we can look at how Jesus prayed and we can look around us at the people who show us what it’s like to do God’s work in the world today.

I invite you in this next week to immerse yourself in prayer. Ask for it for yourself. Be humble, you need it. Ask for it for others. Trust in it, they need it. We can do no other thing because God wants to heal us and then make us healers. In those moments, we will finally become One like he and God are One. Amen.

The Reverend Patty Baker, Vicar

St. Clare’s Episcopal Church

Snoqualmie Washington

May 17, 2020

A Easter 6

John 14:15-21

In a nutshell, this Gospel promises us that the Spirit of Truth will live in us as we love and follow Jesus and his commandments. If I said that again and we lived into it, that would be the end of my sermon for the day and I could go sit down…perhaps for the next several weeks. We are promised that the Spirit of Truth will live in us as we love and follow Jesus and his commandments. Amen.

OK, perhaps that needs a little unpacking…

This story is about a gift. One that was being given to a group of people who found themselves unprepared for the experiences they were about to face. They were obviously frightened, and they also didn’t feel qualified to take on the leadership that was being asked of them.

Unlike the readings early in this Season of Easter, this one doesn’t happen after the resurrection, it happens the night of the Last Supper. The disciples have had their feet washed, eaten their meal, seen Judas run off into the night, and heard that Peter will soon deny he even knows Jesus.

Jesus must be scared himself. He knows that what’s coming isn’t going to turn out well for him. His friends are frightened for him and for themselves. But he keeps on encouraging them that there is hope and support and they should not fall into despair. He promises them that they will not be left alone when he is gone. Another helper will come.

The most literal translation of “advocate,” is “the one who pleads your case, who takes your side, who intercedes for you, and who stands up for you.”

We sometimes listen to this part of the gospel story by itself and what we hear is that God is providing this advocate on our behalf so that God can be convinced that we need help or mercy.

I think God already knows this. It’s probably safer to say that God already knows we are in need of mercy and forgiveness and even an occasional swift kick in the rear.

But that doesn’t jive with what Jesus is saying to his friends on this frightful night.

I wonder if we would be better served by thinking about it the other way around. We need an advocate who will represent God for us. We need to hear someone plead God’s case and who takes God’s side. When we are in trouble or about to fall into the abyss, it is good to have the Spirit’s presence to remind us we have immense value in God’s eyes. Or when we are convinced that we know what’s right and what’s best that we might hear that God has a better idea.

What if the Advocate, or Holy Spirit, is for us to hear God’s case for loving us? What if the purpose of the Spirit is to help us know that God is on our side and isn’t constantly trying to find ways to trip us up or send down judgmental bolts of lightening?

God has no need of anyone trying to make a case for us to be forgiven. God knows full well who we are and what we are up to. God does not need to be persuaded to love us. God cannot not love us, even when we are at our most nasty and cruel.

What if instead, the Holy Spirit comes to remind us and encourage us that if we would just stop occasionally and listen, we might make choices that point us toward things like compassion and reconciliation and justice.

Mostly I wonder if the Spirit comes to remind us that the commandment to follow Jesus is to love one another. That’s the commandment he gave his disciples just before he offers them this Spirit. Love one another as I have loved you.

We also get hung up on that part. We don’t have this advocate to keep us in line or to grit our teeth to love someone else. Jesus isn’t interested in us trying to be good. He is interested in our love. He wants us to follow him into a love and hope that has been freely given – something unearned, undeserved, and totally transforming.

Sometimes the word is for the Holy Spirit is Comforter. For those who are living in fear right now, maybe there is an opportunity to hear the voice of God speak words of comfort to ease their fear. Perhaps the Comforter comes to us to help us remember that Jesus is always with us. As near as our next breath – even when those breaths are filled with terror.

It is we who need God’s advocate to come along side us and remind us that we’re going to be OK, that we are loved, and that we too can love others. Because if we have this Spirit of Truth with us, then we can reach out to those who are frightened too.

David Lose* says, “the Spirit invites us “to be a legion of advocates helping, comforting, encouraging, counseling, and lifting up others.” No one he says, “can hope to love others as Jesus did apart from the advocacy, help, comfort, consolation, counsel, and encouragement of the Spirit.”

So where does this leave us today? One of the best parts about the Resurrection of Easter is that this Holy Spirit is always with us. I would invite you to take a few minutes this week to do two things. First, listen! Open yourself up to God’s love and care for you. Especially if you are frightened and alone. Second, how can you share this love of God with someone else this week? Who will you see, talk to, be with, who needs to know this love is also for them, this comfort is for them, and this helping is for them?

Be well and be filled with the Spirit of Truth who lives in us as we love and follow Jesus and his commandments. Amen.

The Reverend Patty Baker, Vicar

St. Clare Episcopal Church

Snoqualmie Washington

 

*David Lose, From his blog, “…in the Meantime, Dear Partner dated May 14, 2020.

May 10, 2020: Mother's Day

A Easter 5

John 14:1-14

Did you know that this reading in John’s gospel happens right after the Last Supper.

Think about that for a second.

Taken by itself it’s easy to imagine this reading as another one of Jesus’ parables from when he & the disciples are walking around the wheat fields in Galilee.

No. The disciples have just had their feet washed in a humbling way; they have just eaten a holy meal; they have just seen one of their own take off to turn Jesus in to the authorities and another told he will betray him. Finally, they have just heard Jesus give them a new commandment, to love one another just as he has loved them.

And Jesus finishes off the evening by saying now they can’t even go with him to where he is going. The disciples often seem confused; now they are confused and terrified.

And Thomas is like, “Wait! What! You’re not going to leave us here! Where are you going and why can’t we go with you? Show us the way. Things are about to get totally out of hand and people are going to die!” And Jesus says, “Yes they are, and I am the Way.”

And Philip is like, “Show us God and we won’t be afraid. All we want is to know God and feel that Holy Presence.” Jesus says, “You already know God because God is in me and I am in God.”

Honestly, I wish Jesus had then said, “You will be afraid and it will be hard,” before he says, “but you will do things in my name that you never thought you could do and that is what will matter.”

I think it was a mistake by those who put the lectionary together to not include the words just before this part of the story… “Love each other as I have loved you.” Without that, you will lose your way and you will never know God.

I am finding it hard lately not to have my heart be troubled. It grieves all that is lost! It is angry and frustrated. And I often don’t know the way.

Where is God when people of color continue to be gunned down for no reason other than they are black and therefore someone to hate and destroy?

Where is God when the people most at risk from this virus are the least and most vulnerable among us? The elderly, who are the wisdom holders, need to be protected as treasures. Or the immigrants who find menial labor in meat-packing plants and farm work, because that’s the only place where they can find work?

Where is God when only the privileged can self-isolate and ride out this scourge when the homeless and hungry can’t find shelter and food?

And where is God when so many people have lost their jobs and are so distraught they are willing to risk opening things up too soon because they have nothing left to lose.

In so many ways these two disciples speak our own thoughts today. “Show us the way. Help us see God.” We have no idea where we’re going and no idea how to find God in this mess.

It is OK to cry out in distress. In fact it is probably a healthy response to what’s going on around us. We are frightened and we are wanting God to be near us – in fact we want God to fix all this. We are grieving the loss of so many things and so many people.

Fear and grief and anger are difficult emotions. But they are real and valid and worth giving voice to, and actually the Church can be very good at helping us express them. And Thomas and Philip can be role models for us.

“Jesus, show us the way,” is a legitimate cry for help.

“Show us the face of God” is a legitimate cry for help.

What is it that you are grieving right now?

Who is it that you can love unconditionally right now?

Where is it that you can find the face of God?

I would encourage you to do these things. In those moments of deep pain and deep love, you will find the way to God’s love. It will likely be hard and there will be moments when you want to give up, but there is really no place to go that God is not already there waiting for you.

If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then that way is through love. In John’s gospel the commandment is simply to love one another as Jesus loves us. Doing so will show us the way, impart the truth, and give us life. And loving others as Jesus does will show us the face of God.

When Jesus tells Philip and the others, “you will do things in my name that you never thought you could do and that is what will matter,” he offers them hope and something to do. Those words are just as valid for the first disciples as they are for us today. We don’t find God by sitting around waiting for a bolt of lightening to flash. God finds us in the messiness of our lives and gives us work to do. That work is what will matter and to do it in Jesus’ name will bring God close.

What you are being called to do may not be what’s needed right now, perhaps you are being prepared to do what comes next, or even what comes after that. Perhaps what you are being called to do is grieve or be angry and ultimately seek compassion and justice for others.

I have always loved a prayer Thomas Merton prayer…

God, we have no idea where we are going.

We do not see the road ahead of us.

We cannot know for certain where it will end.

nor do we really know ourselves,

and the fact that we think we are following your will

does not mean that we are actually doing so.

But we believe that the desire to please you

does in fact please you.

And we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing.

We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire.

And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road,

though we may know nothing about it.

Therefore we will trust you always though

we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

We will not fear, for you are ever with us,

and you will never leave us to face my perils alone. Amen.

We are called to love one another as Jesus loves us. That is how we will know the way, the truth, and the life. And it is how we will see the face of God.

If you are not called to respond now, you very well may be the gift needed later.

Take care of yourself now, so that you will have a chance to care later.

Call friends and family. Pray because it will open you up to the Source of Life.

Sit, rest, learn, prepare. God will need you to love deeply.

You will be needed because this is a long-term journey and if all of us are going to rush into the fire like Bishop Greg said I do last week, then there won’t be anyone to do the clean up, or the reconstruction, or sit with the grieving, or restore what was broken.

For those of you who are seeking the Way, it is Jesus’ love. For those you who want to see the face of God, it is through loving each other as Jesus loved us.

May we grieve, and may we be frightened, and may we know the work is hard. But we will have to know, need to know, and can know that our God loves us deeply and will never be far from us as we do the work we are called to do.

In Jesus’ Holy Name,

Amen

© The Reverend Patty Baker, Vicar

St. Clare Episcopal Church

Snoqualmie Washington

May 3, 2020 Good Shepherd Sunday

A Easter 4

John 10:1-10

Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. After all kinds of talk about sheep, shepherd, gates, & thieves, the last sentence is the phrase I kept coming back to this week. “I come to bring you life…abundant life.”

Living in isolation from almost everyone, sometimes forgetting what day it is, working from home in our pajama bottoms, or taking our lives in our hands to go out to work or buy groceries doesn’t feel abundant. There is fear in much of what we do lately from catching the disease to losing our jobs to our children falling behind in school, to our very way of life.

Perhaps there is no better Sunday than today to read Psalm 23. Very few of us have encountered such a shadow of death in our lifetimes. The number of people who have died in Washington is now over 800. In the world it is about a quarter million. I guess that’s one way to talk about abundance.

But it’s also about the death of other things: many would say our freedom, for some,  financial security, for most of us, the loss of human touch, for those of us in the Church, not being able to gather for worship & share communion. We are all dealing with an abundance of grief. This is hard and in many cases we are having to grieve alone which adds to our despair.

Death is not the abundance that Jesus is talking about, but it is something that we need to recognize and work through. It’s hard work, but we are not alone in doing it. The Psalmist promises that we will be comforted and cared for.

 

It would be so nice to go back to January and live that former life. It was abundant then.  We got up every morning and went wherever we wanted, ate out, shopped, saw friends, hugged grandkids, shared bread and wine on Sunday. But we also got up every morning when the alarm went off, toiled away to buy more things, and went to bed at the end of the day exhausted – and then couldn’t sleep.

I don’t know a soul who doesn’t want this quarantine lifted and the coronavirus to go away so we can go back to the way it was. We won’t, but as I sit with the words from John, that’s not the definition of abundance that Jesus is offering us either. Jesus offers more life than most of us can imagine. It’s counter to everything that robs us of life, steals our goodness, and gets us totally and miserably lost.

“I bring you life! in the fullest, richest possible way!” It will be flourishing, with purpose, and filled with joy. That’s the Easter message. That’s the voice to listen to. There is a rhododendron that has taken over much of our front yard over the years. It’s not my favorite color and the blooms are small, but there are hundreds of them. That’s abundance. I wonder if Jesus’ message is like that. What if he means not just having abundance, but being abundant. Maybe that would be getting closer to his message.

We are always saying there’s not enough. And if we don’t say it, we live it. We buy up stuff we don’t need, hoard things so we won’t run out, and make sure we protect our interests so they don’t get taken away from us. When we live in a state of scarcity all the time, we actually deny these things from others.

Jesus is saying something absolutely contrary to that. Life is abundant…it’s filled with 300 blooms on a rhodie because that’s what’s rhodie’s do. Just because they aren’t my favorite doesn’t mean I can’t find joy in them. This is what we’re called to.

Even in the midst of this disaster we are called to live into abundance. There is usually  something to be grateful for and if not, maybe we are called to look around to create it in someone else.

If we don’t hear the shepherd’s voice call us to look around and follow him and to do what he does, then perhaps it is not the shepherd’s voice we are listening to. Perhaps were listening to thieves & bandits who are trying to steal from us.

Abundant life is an invitation to discover life right now by sharing it with those around us.  That means we have to pay attention to what is robbing others elsewhere and then offer them the means by which they might have, not just life, but life in abundance. Because the gift just isn’t to get abundant life and to hold it like we’re going lose it. The gift is to spread it around. Because when we do, the blessing comes back to us. No one can truly have abundant life if it is denied to someone else. If some of us live with the world’s sense of abundance and everyone else around us lives with nothing, then Jesus’ abundance is a mirage. Until everyone of us knows abundance, none of us will.

This pandemic is teaching us that. The disease takes more lives from those who are living in poverty and racially and ethnically discriminated against. The virus runs rampant through communities that lack basic needs and/or live and work in crowded areas.

There is nothing we really need that is in limited supply. Love, grace, acceptance, hospitality, mercy, understanding, humor. Nobody else’s possession of these things threatens or limits our access to them. God pours them out in outrageous abundance. If they seem scarce or limited to us, it is not because they are, but because we are so conditioned to believing that everything is measured out in meager handfuls that we have to fight for, that we have fallen for a lie. It doesn’t necessarily mean health or wealth and it has more to do with what’s in our hearts than with what we possess in our hands.

So what is abundant life for you? Imagine it. It looks different in different places and to different people, but it always shows up – even if only as a hope or a dream. It is rich and it brings joy, not just to you, but to all those you offer it to.

The disciples broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. That is our goal. That is the abundant life we truly hunger for. Let it be so.

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

©The Reverend Patty Baker, Vicar

St. Clare Episcopal Church Snoqualmie Washington

 

 

Scroll to top