This Sunday the Gospel warns us to be ready at unexpected times for the return of our Master (Luke 12). If we are reaching for some example of what this readiness looks like we might turn to the words of the prophet Isaiah.
“Cease to do evil. Learn to do good. Seek Justice. Rescue the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1) But if we are expecting these actions to have some predictable effect upon our lives, we are likely to be confused and disappointed. This is because while we must try to live in readiness for the master’s return, we have to be prepared to persevere in his absence. The absence of the master leaves open the possibility that our efforts to live in obedience to the master will not receive the immediate reward we should expect. Sometimes those who do evil will prosper.
This doesn’t mean that God is not reigning. Nor will it serve as an acceptable excuse when the master returns. Remember when you said, “But everyone else does it” and your mom replied, “Well you are not anyone else.”
Remember. You are not anyone other than a child of God. Give thanks for the witness of the Son of God who shows us the way of love that leads to eternal life. And do not let your heart be troubled. Continue in the service to which you have been called. Seek justice. Defend the orphan. Plead for the widow. Do good. And trust that the day will come when you will once again rejoice, and not be afraid, to see the master.
The Diocese of Virginia will hold a Service of Lamentation, Reconciliation, and Commitment to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the arrival of enslaved Africans in Virginia at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Richmond at 5 pm Saturday, August 17. Your prayers and presence are invited.
The National Park Service is calling for national bell ringing as part of Healing Day events being held at Fort Monroe National Monument to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the landing of enslaved Africans in Virginia. Churches and people around the United States and its provinces are encouraged and invited to commemorate and remember with repentance and lamentation the bringing of those first enslaved Africans to this country by tolling the bells of churches on August 25 at 3:00 p.m. Our Presiding bishop, the Most Reverend Michael Curry is inviting all Episcopal Churches to join in this commemoration as part of our continued work of racial healing and reconciliation.
Therefore, I invite you to join me at St. Luke’s 3:00 pm Sunday, August 25 to remember those who came as enslaved, to lament the more than 350 years of slavery under which their descendants suffered and the 100 years of violent persecution that followed their “liberation”, to repent of the continuing persistent forms of racism endured by many in our country, and to join them in hoping and proclaiming and praying and working for a new future for us all.