The Cold Springer - Week of May 5, 2019
Sunday, May 5th, 2019 - Morning Prayer and Annual Meeting
When Christ Comes to You
Now as [Saul] was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" He asked, "Who are you, Lord?" The reply came, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. From the Acts of the Apostles
St. Paul. The story for this Sunday is traditionally called “Paul’s Conversion.” That his name is changed - from Saul to Paul - is certainly a biblical stamp, a sign that something major has shifted (think Abram & Sarai becoming Abraham and Sarah.) It has.
It’s also often the case, that when we hear of Paul’s conversion we think that must be the moment he became a Christian. Of course, there were not Christians as we understand them now, there were only Jews who “belonged to the Way.” Jesus’ followers would not have thought of themselves as anything other than Jewish.
Rather then consider Paul’s encounter with Christ as a conversion, it may be helpful to think of it as ach the Good News: that Jesus Christ, son of the living God, was risen. It was after all the risen Lord who met him on the road to Damascus,
That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. From the Gospel of John
Saint Peter. Only Peter would prepare to jump into the water by putting on his clothes! But he was anxious to arrive at the shore, excited to meet Jesus. But this wasn’t the Jesus he had known several days before. This was Christ, the risen Lord, and he came to enlist Peter again. “Follow me,” Jesus says to Peter.
We can imagine Peter needed to hear that he was good enough to follow Jesus, that he was integral to the ministry of God’s Word; he had after all, denied Jesus three times. Just that evening Peter seemed willing to forget it all and return to the fishing boat he had left behind three years ago. But his encounter with Christ, as it did with his contemporary Paul, gave Peter a sense of purpose.
These two call stories, paired on the same Sunday, remind us of another important similarity between Peter and Paul: they are unlikely evangelists for the proclamation of the Good News. Somehow, Peter the Denier and Paul the Persecutor became the spokespersons for the Way. What seems like some sort of divine joke is good news in itself - even the fool and fiend are called to serve the living God!
We spend much of our lives creating an image of ourselves that can be be projected or shared with ease and understanding. With one or two looks we want people to know that we are hip, or traditional, or wealthy. With one or two words we want people to know who we are, “I’m a painter,” “I’m a republican,” “I’m a hunter,” “I’m a banker.”
But in each encounter with Christ we are called closer to our true vocation: proclaimers of the Good News that the Lord is risen and that his Kingdom is among us. In each encounter with Jesus we are called closer to our true selves: children of the Living God. No matter what we think we are or what we have done, when Christ comes to us, he calls us closer to himself and closer to our neighbor.
May you be found by the Risen Lord this Easter season.
Peace and All Good!
The Rev. Jesse Lebus
This week in Children's Chapel our students will explore the Parable of the Mustard Seed through Godly Play, a story telling methos that allows children to develop faith language and unpack the meaning of scripture on their own terms. The parable of the mustard seed aligns with a three week program that all of our Sunday School students are doing. The seed is a perfect symbol to help young people understand that something small and simple can become expansive and dynamic. It is true in their little lives and in their faith.
Little Saints & Elements of Faith
Both of these classes will explore how the parable of the mustard seed helps them to see their potential as people of faith in community. Using seeds alligns with the season (Easter & Spring!) and gives them a way into thinking abstractly while engaging real change. The Little Saints class will make a seed mosaic as part of their class and the Elements of Faith students, following a video about beekeepers in Kenya, will discuss how providing micro-loans and sharing resources can bring dignity and capital to a community.
This Sunday, after the 10am service, is the St. John's Annual Meeting. It is an important opportunity to here about all the chruch has done in the past year and look to the future. To encourage parents to take part there will be a chaperoned "Kids Coffee Hour" with food, upstairs on the playground. If the weather is bad there will be a movie in the conference room.
Confirmation Class 2019
This Saturday,16 of our young members were confirmed at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City. Let's give thanks and prayer for them on their journey.