Before we are bombarded with football, food and commercials for Black Friday sales let's pause to remember all of the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We have family or have made our own families from friends and neighbors. We are free to worship our faith. We are thankful for living in a country where we can voice our opinions and disagree agreeably with one another. We are free to pursue our dreams knowing that the limits are those we place upon ourselves.
We also understand that there are those in our country who suffer from poverty, sickness, broken families and broken lives. As people of faith, we reach out to them and extend the hand of hope and friendship that others cannot or will not extend. We welcome everyone into our church and hope they too find solace, challenge and friendship at St. Thomas. Draw the circle wide. No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side. Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song; no one stands alone. Is the hymn and this the belief indeed the very core of who we are as people of faith and believers in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As we turn our faces to Advent let our hearts and minds remember that we draw the circle wide in Bath, NC-come join us!
Presiding Bishop's Video
I watched and listened with great interest to our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry's address to Episcopalians. I was once again inspired by his words. I personally find PB Curry to be a source of wisdom and grace. His excitement about the Church and being a follower of Jesus is often thought provoking and uplifting. I feel like a better person for just listening to him and I want to be a better Christian because of him. Below is the link to his message. Listen and enjoy.
Saturday Thoughts: Luke 16:1-13
Even though I am on vacation-hahah I want to reflect on this week's gospel, "The Dishonest Manager" is how we Episcopalians know it. For many of us, the story has an unsatisfying ending. Instead of being punished for cutting a deal with those who owe money to the landowner, the landowner himself congratulates the manager for being shrewd. We shake our collective heads and think WHAT! The comments I have read all week are about not caring about financial security or all being equal in the eyes of God or finally that the reign of God will turn the world upside down.
All good and faithful analyses but my take is a little different. What if instead of seeing the dishonest manager not as someone else but as ourselves and those who owe being ourselves as well. We are all managers of our lives. We make the decisions about where we live, work and play. We choose our friends and hopefully marry the loves of our lives, perhaps choose to have children. Each way along the way in our lives, we decide. Now we know some decisions we make are better than others and sometimes we wish for the opportunity to do it all over again. Alas, this is not possible. So we make deals with ourselves. We say things like, "Just this once" or "I won't do this again." We in that moment become the dishonest manager of our lives. Or perhaps we don't stretch ourselves because we are afraid of failure or being laughed at or even being shunned. Again we are dishonest with those feelings and thoughts and do not become the person God wants us to be.
I see the story of the dishonest manager as how we cheat ourselves out of all that God wants for us when we "cut a deal" with our shadow side. The final verse in this story is "No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” When we do not live the life that God has intended for us we begin to hate the life we have and wish for another. This is when poor choices enter our thoughts and we make deals with ourselves and with the shadow side of our personality. We begin to hate this shadow and lose out on what is possible so focused on the false dream the life we think we would have by listening to the what if's and if only's. God wants us to have the best life possible but first we have to be brutally honest with all those pieces of our lives we want to keep hidden. It is only then will we become honest managers of ourselves.