As I was getting ready to leave the house this morning, I heard a story on NPR about rates of giving among the rich. Those that live in more diverse places tend to give more than those who are isolated from their communities.
When I began Morning Prayer, I read from Romans 8:1-11:
1 So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2 The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.3 God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin.4 He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness.5 People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit.6 The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace.7 So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t.
8 People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.
9 But you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him.10 If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin.
11 If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
I thought that I heard enough, then the quote for the day:
Contemporary writer and ragamuffin Brennan Manning has said, “The outstretched arms of -Jesus exclude no one, not the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception.”
May we learn to embrace all.
The Gospel reading in Morning Prayer was from the first chapter of John:
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.’ Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see.’ When Jesus saw Nathanael coming towards him, he said of him, ‘Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!’ Nathanael asked him, ‘Where did you come to know me?’ Jesus answered, ‘I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ Nathanael replied, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.’ (Jn. 1:43-51)
Sometimes Jesus called disciples to follow him, sometimes the disciples brought their friends along. Thank God for the folks who invited you to journey with Jesus today. I am convinced that we will all see greater things than we ever imagined.
Today on the Anglican and Roman Catholic calendars they are remembering Dominic a 13th century Priest and Friar. He was the founder of the Order of Preachers (O.P.) and was known for his logical and persuasive arguments for the orthodox Christian faith. In a time when force and violence substituted for religious conversion, he stood out as a light in the darkness.
Read more about him at the Mission of St. Clare
Scriptures for the Day
O God of the prophets, who opened the eyes of your servant Dominic to perceive a famine of hearing the word of the Lord, and moved him, and those he drew about him, to satisfy that hunger with sound preaching and fervent devotion: Make your Church, dear Lord, in this and every age, attentive to the hungers of the world, and quick to respond in love to those who are perishing; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
After spending five years in Japan and making the pilgrimage to Hiroshima a couple of times, August 6th stands out as a day to remember. It was the day that U.S. aircraft dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan and it led to the end of the second World War in the Pacific. Even nearly 70 years later, there is no agreement as to the number who died that day, or how many were affected by radiation after effects, we can say, unequivocally, that it was a horrific day in which many men, women and children were killed in the midst of war.
Every time I walked Ground Zero in Hiroshima I was moved to tears. I remember speaking with survivors of the blast who lived to tell the story so that something this terrible may never happen again. They were so gracious and hospitable to every guest who entered the museum and memorial site. They were a living embodiment of Jesus’ call to “Love your enemies.”
May this day give us all pause to remember, and never forget.
From Common Prayer on August 3…
In his book From Brokenness to Community, Jean Vanier writes, “Those with whom -Jesus identifies himself are regarded by society as misfits. And yet -Jesus is that person who is hungry; -Jesus is that woman who is confused and naked. Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if we all discovered that? The face of the world would be changed. We would then no longer want to compete in going up the ladder to meet God in the light, in the sun and in beauty, to be honored because of our theological knowledge. Or if we did want knowledge, it would be because we believe that our knowledge and theology are important only so long as they are used to serve and honor the poor.”
O God of the poor and meek, form us into -people who do not conform to the patterns of this world but rather conform to the norms of your upside-down kingdom. Give us eyes to see you in those who suffer. Move us to the margins of this world, and help us to find you there, in your most distressing disguises. Amen.
From a meditation by Br. Alois at Taize on July 26, 2012:
Christ sends us as witnesses so that we may communicate his peace by the lives we live. Each of us can do this, wherever we live, even if sometimes we feel poor and needy. Being witnesses to the peace of Christ will give new dynamism to our existence.
Yes, Christ tells us: “I need you so that the world may believe that my words are true.”