Good News: A Weekly Update from St Thomas Church—September 3, 2015
Jesus said to the gentile woman who came seeking healing for her daughter, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." But she answered him, "Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." Then he said to her, "For saying that, you may go-- the demon has left your daughter." So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone. “ This event marks a shift in Jesus’ teaching and ministry. No longer limited to the Jewish community of his heritage, his ministry is now open to Gentiles, foreigners, like this woman and so many others who came – and still come – seeking the compassion, teaching and healing that Jesus offers. You can read the rest of the gospel for this Sunday here: Mark 7:24-37.
This Monday is Labor Day in the United States. A holiday for many, the unofficial end of summer, it has its roots in the struggle for fair wages and safer working conditions for workers across the broad spectrum of American life. Labor unions literally fought for many of the rights that workers have taken for granted for decades, but are now seeing eroded, bit by bit, in many ways and many places. One of the early fighters for labor rights and safety for laborers was Mary Harris “Mother” Jones, an Irish-American school teacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer. Probably her most famous quote remains, “Pray for the dead. Fight like hell for the living.”
Elsewhere in the eblast you will find two messages. One is from Bishop Stokes, concerning the recent deaths of law enforcement officers by gunfire. The other is a letter from Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and President of the House of Deputies the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, calling on Episcopal congregations to participate in “Confession, Repentance, and Commitment to End Racism Sunday” on September 6. Both remind us of our calling to be God’s people in our world in ways that are life-affirming and healing. Both connect us deeply of the message of Jesus we find in the gospel for this Sunday. Hard copies of both messages will be available at St Thomas Church; I hope you will prayerfully read both.
Bishop Stokes ends his message with these words:
“We need God’s help. We need Christ’s redeeming love. We need one another.” And in the words of Mother Jones: “Pray for the dead. Fight like hell for the living.” whoever they are, wherever they may be.
Let us pray:
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, and especially the hearts of the people of this land, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 823)
Almighty God, who created us in your image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP 260)
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP 210)
Peace and blessing,