Today was a full day indeed. Seems like it started a long time ago – well than again at this point it did start 17 hours ago so that is a considerable while ago. Let’s break the day down a little
OFF THE GRID and BAPTISM
Two liturgies this morning and both were alive and well. At 10:30 AM we had the baptism of Stella Rose Fuerth and we have the youth of Essex Deanery assist in proclamation by offering a great skit between God and St. Francis. It was well appreciated by everyone. (Check out some Pictures in the photos section – you can view more pictures tomorrow at www.stmarkschurch.net) These kids were all OFF THE GRID (see yesterday’s post) and camped out in the backyard of the church all night to raise funds for the Primates world Relief and Development Fund.
A good crowd at church today as well with over 177 at 10:30 and 30 plus at 8 AM. Our congratulations to Tara and Jason and Joey and Arnie and lost especially to little sis Stella who was baptised this morning. Welcome into the household of God. She was so precious. It was a special gift to hold her in my arms this morning and baptise her. She was so gorgeous and so charming. It all brought a tear to my eye – Many thanks again to the Piercells and the Fuerths for including me.
Today I was pleased to announce to the parish that the Diocese is giving a grant of $250 000 to our Raising the Roof Campaign that will no doubt be a big help in getting us on our way. We now look forward to meeting to do more work and re-figure what our needs at the parish level are work toward our ultimate goal of expanding our church and ultimately expanding our ability to minister to the community around us. Net time you meet a Diocesan Official offer him/her a kiss! We appreciate the kindness of those who want to move forward with us.
ABBRY ISABELLA BLAIS
We left church today and raced off to London in time to be present for the Baptism of our little niece. She too was gorgeous and adorable and it was a joy again to see one welcomed into the household of God. The Baptism was followed by family time at Marc and Mitz’s house. We had a great time with Father Mickey, with all the kids and with all of the family of course. The children seemed particularly playful today – they were just a joy to be around –A good time indeed. Congratulations to Abbey and to her Mom and Dad Marc and Mitz and big sister Audrey.
ED SMITH BOOK ORDERS
Today we distributed most of the second shipment of books that came in although there are still 5 of you out there who have not yet picked them up. Please give a call to the office and get your book first thing tomorrow. IMPORTANT – (you may wish to order a book. The more I order the easier it is. Right now I have orders for at least three more books; I can take more orders and would love to order a case of 24. Let me know if you want a book.) Ed and Marion are in transit and should arrive in town tomorrow. They are both very much looking forward to their visit on Tuesday Evening October 23rd at 7 PM. Tell your friends and family and plan to be there as you will not be disappointed to meet this great couple. After he speaks there will be a wine and cheese reception in our parish hall where all participants will have an opportunity to meet Ed and Marion. Today I preached about persistence in prayer given we are often left in unspeakable situations. I thought nothing more apropos than Chapter 13 of Ed’s book From the Ashes of My dreams where he goes at God very directly and very honestly. While Ed is a quadriplegic and lives with the frustration of not being able to do all of the things that he previously enjoyed before his accident in 1998, Ed has decided to act and be a witness to others. Ed story is teaching others, and his experience is brining hope to many on the world. That is after all what God wants of us ACTION.
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO – JUSTICE
Tonight we watched again The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). It is a movie which has strong themes of perseverance over unbelievable injustice. The movie focuses non not being vengeful but acting with what we have to bring about good. Again I thought of Ed Smith and of my preaching this morning and wished I had thought to use some illustrations from this movie. The film follows Dàntes who is unjustly jailed in Château D’If and has to make his way to freedom and then works to get back at those who have wronged him. While imprisoned he meets a learned old priest who teaches him everything from reading to swashbuckling (more talented than most priest I know). On the wall of his cell is scratched the words ‘God Will Give Me Justice’. But this is a sinister place and the toxic warden reminds Dàntes that "God has nothing to do with it — in fact God is never in France this time of year" Dàntes counters, "God has everything to do with it. He’s everywhere. He sees everything." The priest gets into his heart and he believes in deed that God is everywhere – but the 10 plus years in that hell hole take away his sense of hope and enthusiasm to do right. He becomes embittered by his lot in life and he sets out to take vengeance into his own hands, but eventually discovers that what the priests taught him in a memorable exchange was correct. At the height if his frustration while imprisoned there is this exchange.
Abbe Faria: Here is your final lesson – do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, "Vengeance is mine".
Edmond Dàntes: I don’t believe in God.
Abbe Faria: It doesn’t matter. He believes in you.
Dàntes was wrongly convicted of treason. The good priest reminds Dàntes that he cannot reduce himself to effectively to treason against God. Even though in his despair he can say that he does not believe in God, Abbe Faria reminds him that God believes in him. How wonderful. This is something that I think that we should all write on our bathroom mirrors. In fact I invite you now – get a piece of paper and write on it “GOD BELIVES IN YOU.” – Now stick it on the mirror you look into the most in the day. When we look into them perhaps we would be reminded of how much God believes in us. We can make a great difference. I finish tonight by sharing a story that I shared in my preaching this morning. –
WE ARE GOD’S ANSWER TO INJUSTICE
Let me tell you a story.
A young black man asked his minister why their people had to suffer so much poverty, hardship, and oppression. “Why doesn’t God do something?” he wailed.
“He has,” said that wise pastor. “He has created you.”
And so Desmond Tutu, now the archbishop of South Africa, became the answer to his own question.
We all have the potential to be an answer o injustice and we all have an ability to make a difference even when it hurts. Just ask Ed Smith – 7 PM on Tuesday evening would be a good time to do just that.