FROM THE DESK OF THE RECTOR :: ADVENT 3

I must confess, many times when I think of ministry I envision ordained pastors in white collars doing "holy stuff" like preaching, wearing strange Jedi robes, and administering the Lord's Supper. Or maybe if I think about it a little longer, I see people traveling to far away places and living barefoot with tribal people in Africa. Is that what you see in your mind's eye as well?

Well, that whole vision of ministry is way off because it is so myopic. The last thing the Church needs is everyone in the pew to become an ordained priest or for all of us to pull up our roots in Georgetown and move wholesale to Africa. 

Now the callings of being a missionary or a pastor are high and holy callings! They are good.  Just to be clear, I'm a pastor and I really think it's great! But God has a far broader, far deeper, and far more revolutionary vision of ministry.

What if I told you that the most holy, most powerful, most world-changing, most God-pleasing ministry is right in front of you?

Listen to how Paul articulates this in his letter to the Colossians, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (3:23)."

As we read in this week's Gospel lesson, St Paul and John the Baptist agree. In preparation for Christ's coming, you are called to love your neighbor through your jobs, i.e. though your vocations. Are you a husband, salesman, father, and tee-ball coach? Love your neighbor by doing those vocations with a Holy Spirit empowered radical generosity and honesty. Are you a mom, small businesswoman, and on the local school board? Love your neighbor through doing those things honestly and well. Are you a son, a student, brother, and hockey goalie? Love your neighbor through each of your vocations.

This last week I ministered to the Lord through changing some diapers, assembling a bookcase for my wife, and talking economic theory with an old friend. Guess what happened? I had an opportunity to invite my old friend to come worship with us. We will see what God does!

That's what God has been doing through me. But each of you have unique realms of influence and connections that as a pastor I will never have. 

Remember, God never calls us to do something he hasn't already done. Jesus spent many years doing hard labor, working with his hands. He honored his mother in his vocation as her son. But beyond all else in his vocation as Savior of the world, Jesus was faithful to God through his radical generosity. He loved you to death on that cross. So let us confess our sins, turn to Jesus and receive his blood-bought forgiveness and Holy Spirit. Then let's show our neighbors what a living faith looks like in the real world.

       Father Kurt

      Father Kurt

 


FROM THE DESK OF THE RECTOR :: ADVENT 2 2015

In the Gospel lesson on Sunday we learned that when the LORD comes back he is coming back like a giant cosmic bulldozer, mowing over the highest mountains and filling in the deepest canyons. Like I-10 in West Texas, God is going to cut through human pride and arrogance. This should cause us some great concern because the seminal sin of pride inhabits each of our hearts. Listen to what C.S. Lewis says about pride:

The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind. Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, “How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronise me, or show off?”

So let's reason this through. The worst sin is pride. You have pride. Therefore you are guilty of the greatest sin.

What are we to do about it? There are really two cures for pride. One is waiting until God comes back to judge you for it. That is not what you want.

The second cure is the cross, Christ's first advent. "The ground is level at the foot of the cross." The cross is the great leveler. It shows us how bad our sin is, so bad that God had to die a horrible death. Have you ever watched The Passion of the Christ? Goodbye pride! There is no room for deserving anything here. 

Additionally the cross shows us how much God loves and forgives us that he would be willing to die to make it happen. That's the Good News, that God declares us as righteous and just in Jesus, the only one who truly walked the straight path. When we trust Jesus, the Scripture says that we are IN him. And because we are now in him we are given his "levelness", his status of being completely one and in-tune with God's purposes and God's definition of right and wrong. Praise God for his mercy! It is so much better to meet God now as Savior than to meet him later as the Judge.

Now that we are IN Christ, Christ is also in us, through his Holy Spirit beginning to do his excavation work in our heart. Let's meditate on the gift of God's love on the cross and let him push over the mountains of pride in our hearts, making us a straight path for him.

 Father Kurt

Father Kurt

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE RECTOR :: ADVENT 1 2015

Jesus is Lord. Let me break this down. The fact that Jesus is Lord means that he is in control of everything. There is no greater boss than Jesus. In the Gospels we see Jesus demonstrating this reality over and over again. He healed the sick, showing his lordship over disease. He forgave sin, showing that he is the final Arbiter of justice. He walked on water and calmed the sea, showing his power over nature.

As was mentioned in the sermon on Sunday, God's miracles come in two flavors. The first type of miracle is when God decides to exercise his power over the natural order and does something explicitly supernatural. For example, in response to prayer, God heals someone of cancer. The other type of miracle is a miracle where God so providentially arranges circumstances through natural means, that it becomes undeniably clear that his hand is at work. The Old Testament book of Ruth is an amazing historical account of God working a miracle in this way. 

I am convinced that my coming to be rector of Light of Christ was a miracle of this second variety. The way God has ordered the events of my life has so perfectly coincided with the way that his spirit has moved Light of Christ, that I have no other option but to give glory to God. 

I am supposed to be here. And so are you. 

Seeing how God has brought us together to work with him to reach Georgetown, I can't wait to see what he has in store for us.

So, in light of Christ's advent, let's not fear but rather place our hope in the One whose Word cannot be shaken, and let us not dull our senses but stay awake through the prayer of that unshakable Word.  Amen!

 Father Kurt

Father Kurt