Clergy Notes — Sunday, July 30, 2017
It was wonderful to celebrate St. James’ Day with all of you last Sunday. Walking round the “Faith in Action” section of the Parish Hall and seeing all the stands that showed off current ministries flowing from, and associated with our church. I felt a sense of peace, knowing that we are at work in the world that God so loves. Thank you to all those of you that made the feast and time of fellowship possible, and a special thanks to Audrey, our volunteer coordinator.
In preparation for this coming Sunday, I have been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of God, and where it is, what it looks like, how to recognize it. Last Sunday I witnessed many of you moving around the stands, speaking together with a sense of energy about the ways we can serve in God’s kingdom here and now. I am so grateful to all of you who actively serve (some in multiple capacities!), here in our church.
When I attended Synod in May, one of the presentations really spoke to me. A priest in our diocese asked all the people in his congregation to commit one thing they could do in service to the church. What one thing can each of us do here at St. James’?
Actively giving of ourselves is the only response that comes from knowing that we have, are and will continue to receive the free and unconditional love, mercy and grace of God.
“We cannot speak of this grace, however, without also saying, and saying clearly, that this free gift demands a costly discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has taught us the dangers of “cheap grace”: “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow upon ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession.”(1)
I heard Malcolm Guite at a poetry lecture last Wednesday and he talked about living as though we fully know the full gift of grace and forgiveness that God offers. We are a people called to give of the gifts that we have, even if that gift is as simple as taking the time to listen to someone else, or put chairs away after an event. The freedom that comes from living, accepting this free gift from God is what enables us to be God’s hands and feet here and now. We all have something to offer to continue to make St. James’ a hospitable place of worship and service, which can thrive and grow.
What is one thing you can do?
 Farris, Stephen, The Great Texts, A Preaching Commentary, Grace, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 2003: p. 14.